Social Question

Esteban1's avatar

Do you give homeless people money?

Asked by Esteban1 (373points) November 19th, 2014
42 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I only give money to homeless people if they have a cat. What’s your stance on giving homeless people money?

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Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve never met a homeless person.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I used to give money to the polite down and outers, and the kids. Junkies, I know what it’s like to be sick. I guess the only ones I wouldn’t give to were the sneering, demanding ones, and the beggars on the freeway ramps with salon manicures. Thank god I never see them anymore.

cookieman's avatar

Occasionally. Maybe a month ago I gave a guy a five who seemed sincere and not high or drunk.

OpryLeigh's avatar

If I have some change then I will often give money. I have to admit to being more inclined to give money if they have a dog.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why would a homeless person have a dog or a cat? That’s a responsibility there. And do they carry the cat around in a cage?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I see many homeless people with dogs (in London there’s a homeless person with a dog pretty much everywhere) They are company for them so I completely understand why a homeless person would have a dog. Often the dog is their family.

I have only ever seen a homeless person with a cat once and that was in Vegas!

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, I do.

I see homeless with cats, dogs, even a pet rat. It’s on thing that keeps them connected. And @Dutchess_III homeless people are not de facto irresponsible, they are in a bad place, not necessarily of their own making.

Araphel's avatar

No, I don’t give homeless people money, what I usually do for them is buy them a nice hot meal and a drink to wash it down, at times when people give money they never really know what is being purchased with it. This way both parties are content, I’ve done a good deed, and the homeless now has a meal that they didn’t have before I showed up, doing this makes me feel good.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know that @zenvelo. But how do they keep them, especially the cat, from running away?

Esteban1's avatar

A homeless person with a cat makes tons of money. The tourists are so amazed by the cat not running away that they can’t help but not give the guy money. Even I give that guy money.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I seriously doubt they make a TON of money.

Aethelwine's avatar

I only give money to a homeless person if they have a troll.

dxs's avatar

I give them some change if I have it. A lot of times I know where some of them hang out, so I’ll buy something and then give it to them. I only give more than a dollar if I really knew them. (I’m not very rich myself, being only 19 years old.)

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (1points)
ucme's avatar

I gave one a brick once, you gotta start somewhere right?

chyna's avatar

Yes I do.

jca's avatar

No. I have in the past, but not now.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (0points)
Coloma's avatar

Yes I do, when I can, and I don’t care what they do with it. Giving with strings is not giving.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Yes I do. Whether they have a cat with them or not. How they spend what I give is their business.

JLeslie's avatar


ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

No. I used to volunteer at the local mission. Believe me you are not helping them, you are either enabling them or getting snuckered. There have been times when I’m approached walking back from the farmers market or grocery. I have no problem handing over fruit or something like that. Never money or anything that can be quickly converted to money. Doing that does NOT make the world a better place. It does the opposite.

ibstubro's avatar

I do not give to people advertising themselves as homeless.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me A few dollars is not going to make a difference anyway.. Whatever it takes to get through their day is my mindset. So what if they buy a quart of beer. I’m not their mommy, if they want to use my gift for a drink instead of a sandwich, that is their choice and at least I can give them the dignity of choosing what they want to do with the money I “give.”

Don’t call it “giving” if you aim to control the outcome of how your “gift” is used.

josie's avatar

Where i used to live, there was a guy who you would stand on a corner down the street, looking wan, with a cardboard sign that said “Homeless. please help. God bless you” and walk home to his apartment at about 6 pm with a brand new, full bottle of Jack.
Answer, no.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Many people give a few dollars and a few more hits to that persons liver or lungs probably does not make much difference either. Over time it’ll take a toll. It’s the extreme minority who will use that cash for positive ends. You cannot know the difference. I honestly care too much… addiction and mental illness need treatment not enabling.

dxs's avatar

@josie One example does not speak for the whole population.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (3points)
FireMadeFlesh's avatar

No. There are charities that support the homeless, and I would rather enable the charity than give money directly.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It depends on the homeless person, but yes, I do it when I can. Last time I did it was with my sister, and it was freezing outside. We saw a young woman with a dog, in the freezing cold, on our way to a local restaurant that makes awesome burritos. We stopped to talk to her only to learn a shelter had just turned her away because they were full, and she was worrying about her dog more than herself. We gave her $5, because it’s all we had on us.

After we were done eating at the restaurant we ordered her a hot chicken burrito with the works, stopped by the store to buy a couple cans of dog food and a can opener, got $20 cash back, grabbed a blanket and brought it all to her. She started crying uncontrollably, and was clearly very thankful.

We helped her a couple more times before she informed us that she was offered a job. It made me happy, because she couldn’t stop talking about getting an apartment for her and her dog, and she was clearly excited about it.

… You just never know. I don’t think that it’s something people should feel obligated to do all the time, or even at all if they don’t want to. But sometimes it really pays off and makes a world of difference for all involved.

johnpowell's avatar

I do. I don’t give a shit if they buy a 40oz of Old English or a sandwich with the money I give.

My two bucks isn’t going to get them a shower, haircut, mailing address, telephone number, transportation, clean outfit, and the hundred of other things you need to actually find and keep a job.

At least my two bucks made somebodies day a bit brighter.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ Exactly.

Esteban1's avatar

Two bucks enables them to continue to live on a street corner in somebody’s neighborhood. Dealing with bums gets old. Don’t believe me, ask a cop.

Coloma's avatar

The whole point IS to GIVE, to extend a moment of shared humanity, not to elevate ones own ego to some superior status of power tripping benefactor. Unless you are willing to actually take in the homeless person and provide for their care, mental health treatment, addiction treatment, whatever, just cough up a few dollars, make some poor souls day a little brighter.
Why is it okay for all the “normal” non-homeless to medicate their stress with a cocktail at the end of their day but some poor homeless person is judged because they seek a small escape from the nightmare they are living.
People are so full of themselves.

To give means just that, and to give in a manner that preserves ones dignity.

jca's avatar

People who give are wonderful, but people who don’t give should not be insulted for their choices, either.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (2points)
Coloma's avatar

@jca I agree, we are all free to give or not give, I just find certain attitudes to be arrogant and degrading. All I am saying is that if one attempts to control how their “gift” is used, it ceases to be a gift and becomes a method of control which is not part of the spirit of giving.
There but for the grace of the universe goes any of us. I would be insulted beyond words if I was the recipient of some control freaks “gift”, insisting that because I was poor/homeless that I needed to be taken by the hand like a child and bought a carton of Oatmeal because, god forbid, I might buy a quart of beer.

Once a gift leaves your hands it is the recipients choice to do whatever they choose with it. Sooo, either truly give or admit that your gesture is more about control than altruism.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me No. I used to volunteer at the local mission. Believe me you are not helping them, you are either enabling them or getting snuckered.
In spite of some scathing rebuke you received, those who never really been that close to it are more like those who think being in the army is more like the movie ”Stripes”, and less like ”Apocalypse Now”. Some would be helped by a $5 dollar bill, they might get a burger, sewing kit, bike patches, or do their laundry. The truth is half (and I am being generous) will go get another $5 from the next person and be off to the connection’s house to score. There is a point where giving to make one feel better becomes de facto enabling; why would anyone have to take ownership of their situation when there is always someone else there to take up the slack? I work with outreach, and those who have non-profits, I know, I am one of the boots on the ground, not some general sitting back in Washington reading reports, thinking I know how the battle is being fought.

Because I am among the poor and homeless daily, I know who is likely to do what with any money, so I use great discernment on needs not wants; if they need that beer to stay alive, then it is a need. If they just want to escape life for a while, then it is a want.

dxs's avatar

@Esteban1 Yes, what easier target for cops than the homeless? It’s much harder to pick on others, such the rich, especially when they’ve manipulatively made their transgressions legal. And again, I just love the generalization that’s going on.~

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (3points)
longgone's avatar

I do, especially if they

a) seem like they may be illegal, because social security is not an option for them or

b) are doing something, instead of just sitting. Playing the guitar, selling the local newspaper of the homeless community…I think receiving money for simply existing does a lot of damage to one’s self esteem. I realize many talents are not “street talents”, which is why this is not a hard and fast rule. I, myself, have no idea what I’d do.

@Dutchess_III There are many cats who will follow their owners around. Google “Bob, the street cat” for a good story.

Gabby101's avatar

Very rarely. I already “give” to the homeless and quite a few other people by paying my taxes honestly and fairly.

rowdydownow7777's avatar

I used to give freely to down on their luck persons because it made me feel better. Now I give even more because I know some may be Angels!

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Especially when it’s obvious that the beggar treats his or her begging like an occupation.

Since these individuals might fall below the poverty line I have no issue with the fact they are not taxed on their “earnings.”

Zachary_Mendes123's avatar

Once even know I’ve seen over 30 homeless people in my almost 19 years of life.

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