5 Reasons It’s Okay to Give Money to Homeless People

5 Reasons It's Okay to Give Money to Homeless People - picture of hands in fingerless gloves being held out

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Last weekend, my husband and I went to a last minute concert in downtown Indianapolis. Even better, we decided to hit one of the best restaurants around – The Oceanaire – for some pre-show appetizers. With entrees costing anywhere from $30 to $80, it’s a place I’ve only visited once – when my old employer paid for it. Fortunately, they had a bar menu with $6 appetizers from 4:00 – 7:00. And boy was it good.

Unfortunately, a conversation I got sucked into almost made me want to vomit. The guy sitting next to us was making small talk with my husband when he casually brought up how much he despises homeless people.

“This city is so beautiful and I love living downtown,” he said. “But all of the homeless people are ruining the experience for me.”

“Other cities get them to go somewhere else,” he went on. “Why can’t Indianapolis find a way to get rid of them?”

I can only imagine what the look on my face was like. Here this guy was, eating a $40 plate of oysters, complaining that homeless people were a nuisance. Sitting in such an opulent setting and listening to his words made me feel like a dirty prick.

My polite husband nodded and smiled uncomfortably. Me? I just sat there.

Unfortunately, the one-sided conversation didn’t stop there.

“Ugh, the panhandlers,” he complained. “They’re all begging for money all day long. I can’t stand it.”

A few oysters later, the guy finally shut up. Still, I couldn’t shake his bad attitude towards the people who call the streets home. Is it really that big of a deal? I mean, if you don’t want to give, shouldn’t you just keep walking? Likewise, can’t you occasionally spare a few bucks?

Should You Give Money to Homeless People?

Regardless of what I think, a lot of experts advise against giving money to panhandlers. Like Fox News John Stossel, for example. “I had heard that some people beg for a living and make big bucks — $80,000 a year in some cases,” Stossel told Fox & Friends. “You really shouldn’t give to these street people,” Stossel concluded. “You are really supporting alcoholism and drug problems.”

I get that advice. I really do. We’ve all heard the stories of panhandlers who prey on people’s kindness only to get in their fancy cars and drive home to reasonably-nice life. I’m not going to lie – people who do that suck. It’s not cool to pretend that you’re homeless when you’re not – and worse – it takes money away from people who are actually homeless.

But, just like with anything else, a few bad apples ruin it for everyone. The truth is, the vast majority of homeless people are not scammers – they’re just homeless people trying to make it through another day. Consider these statistics from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty if you want to know what the real homeless look like:

  • As much as twenty percent of the homeless population nationwide suffers from some sort of untreated mental illness.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among women.
  • Nearly 60,000 United States Veterans are homeless at any time.
  • One quarter of homeless people are children.
  • Cities are increasingly making homelessness a crime at a time when the amount of low-income housing is decreasing. According to the NLCHP, most people become homeless because they simply can’t afford to rent anywhere.

5 Reasons It’s Okay to Give to Homeless People

No matter what anyone says, it’s perfectly fine to give to homeless people. Sure, like Stossel said, they might turn around and waste the money you give them on drugs or cigarettes. But so what? They might not. Need more convincing? Here are a few other reasons it’s probably okay to pony up a few bucks:

Because A Few Dollars May Not Mean Much to You, But it Could Mean Everything to Someone Else

When you’re middle class, a few extra dollars in your wallet can go completely unnoticed. You might not even realize you got two bucks back in change at Subway last week or that you have a few dollars in quarters sitting in your car.

But to someone who has nothing, those two dollars could mean everything. It could be the money they use to buy a sandwich for lunch or a toothbrush, or even pay for an ID so they can check into a homeless shelter.

It’s okay to assume the best and walk away. And you never know – the money you give them might help them get out of their situation, or perhaps be the source of their only joy or hope for that day.

Because It Teaches Kindness

Just last winter, my daughter and I were driving by the highway when we noticed a man begging for money on the divider. It was freezing cold that day, with temperatures predicted to fall well below freezing that night – the kind of day where the newscasters are reminding you to “bring your pets in” so they don’t die.

My daughter, who was four at the time, suggested we bring him home with us. I didn’t necessarily want to do that, so we decided to do the next best thing. We circled around to the bank, took out $60 from the ATM, and circled back by the highway to hand it to him. I watched his reaction from my rear view mirror as I drove away, and I can only describe it as complete and utter shock.

“He is going to stay warm in a hotel tonight,” my daughter said with the biggest grin on her face. (And before you ask, yes you can get a hotel room for $60 in Indianapolis. The hotel he was panhandling in front of was advertising rooms for $59 per night.)

I’m not telling this story to toot my own horn, but to illustrate the fact that being kind in front of your kids actually teaches kindness. My daughter still remembers it to this day. She brings it up from time to time and remembers fondly how “her idea” helped get a guy out of the freezing cold. Writing a big, fat check to an awesome charity is amazing, but hard for kids to understand. But handing cash to another person? Kids get it, and even better, they don’t forget.

Because Giving Is Always Nice, No Matter the Outcome

But, what if that man didn’t stay in a warm, cozy hotel that night? Does it really matter? I don’t think so. Giving is always a nice thing to do, even when the receiver doesn’t use your gift how you hoped.

To be frank, you don’t get to decide how other people get to use your gifts. You can suggest things, and you can cross your fingers, but the ultimate decision is up to them. But you don’t have to worry. When you give from the heart, it is always the right thing to do. You can sleep well at night knowing you did the right thing, regardless of the outcome.

Because You Don’t Know Their Story

It’s easy to assume the worst about homeless people, or really anyone for that matter. But is that always the right thing to do? When you consider the statistics mentioned above, it’s obvious that the answer is “no.” We shouldn’t assume anything, in fact.

Just because you walk by someone every day doesn’t mean you know their story. Ask every homeless person you know if they truly want to be homeless, and I’m guessing they will all say no. Few people would choose to be homeless by choice. According to the statistics, homelessness is often the result a few tragic mistakes that somehow spin out of control. It doesn’t make them a bad person.

Because It Could Be You One Day

According to a 2014 study from Bankrate, approximately 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. That figure includes people from all walks of life, including the rich, and is somewhat hard to believe.

But it’s also scary. Living paycheck to paycheck without a savings buffer often means that you’re only one sickness or job loss away from losing everything. When you’re used to spending every dollar you bring in, you are far less capable of figuring things out when the money dries up.

And that’s why people who live without a safety net or support system are susceptible to homelessness. Most people who don’t have savings would probably turn to family members and friends for help. But what if none of your relatives can help? When someone is struggling and their support system is also barely getting by, that can leave them to fend for themselves. Because as we all know, you can’t ask your friends to save you when they are busy saving themselves.

The bottom line: The fall from the top could be much quicker and harder than you think. Most people think it could never happen to them, but a series of unfortunate events is sometimes all it takes to move you from the inside of a fancy restaurant to the street outside.

So be kind. Or at the very least – don’t be an asshole.

What are your thoughts on giving money to homeless people?

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  1. I very rarely come in contact with anyone that is homeless of begging for money. And if I do, I usually don’t have anything on me. But my take on it is similar to yours – I’ll give them money. They may spend it on stuff I wish they wouldn’t, but I really have no way of knowing. Same goes for local stores that I support, though. Maybe that mom and pop places uses their proceeds to buy booze or feed their gambling addiction. You can’t be judge and jury over everyone’s life.

    1. Very true. When you support a local business, they can use the profits how they want as well. Hell, the money you give to a charity can be wasted in a number of ways. You can’t control everything.

    2. If they end up spending it on drugs it’s indicative of a larger mental problem. Substance abuse is always a symptom of larger issue like depression or anxiety. Happy healthy people don’t addicted to heroin.

  2. I’ve done both. Sometimes I give money and sometimes I don’t, depending on whether I have any cash, how badly I don’t want to take out my wallet on the street, etc. This is a debate I go back and forth on. On one hand, I want to be a good person and help others. On the other hand, I don’t want to contribute to anyone’s drug or alcohol habit. In the past I’ve felt better when I’ve given a homeless person something like a granola bar or other food. But I don’t always have food with me. It’s one of those endless debates that I can totally argue both ways…

    1. I don’t want to contribute to anyone’s drug habit either. Still, you never really know how someone will spend it.

      1. I am experiencing homelessness right now, and have been since I left a 24year abusive marriage. I struggle to make it thru each and every day. I have met many others in my situation. It makes me sad to say- ALOT IF NOT MOST are scammers for drug money:( BOTTOM LINE- GIVE if your heart directs you. Don’t give if you do not feel comfortable. Judge each situation the way you would want to be judged. Thank you I feel invisible and ashamed when I hold a sign, but I do it to survive. I do it until I can land a job and start digging myself up out of this. I’m so much safer now than that was in my marriage, but its easy to lose hope- please give if your heart tells you to.Love and Peace to all

  3. I don’t give money directly to the homeless in downtown Indianapolis. I use those boxes the city set up where the money goes to the outreach programs and places like Wheeler Mission. I feel they can do more good with it than the single person.

    To quote Comedian Greg Giraldo “There are homeless people everywhere. This homeless guy asked me for money the other day. I was about to give it to him and then, I thought he was going to use it on drugs or alcohol, and then I thought, that’s what I’m going to use it on, Why am I judging this poor bastard.”

    1. I love that quote!
      I think giving to Wheeler Mission is a great idea. We used to give to them monthly several years ago, but got out of the habit. I think cause we moved. They stop sending me the little envelopes!

      1. Steve Kerr says:

        Hi Holly! I work for Wheeler and I can start sending you the envelopes again! Wink wink, nudge, nudge.

        Give me a call at 635-3575 and let me know the address.

        Thanks for your past donations.

  4. I live in Baltimore City and I **NEVER** give money to homeless people. Not to be mean or degrade them like your “friend” at the bar, and I know that yes, many of these people are really homeless, some might actually need the money to pay their rent or feed a kid of whatever. But many of the pan handlers also have a mental illness or anger management problems and giving them money on the street corner starts a dangerous cycle- I’ve definitely seen panhandlers physically LASH OUT at people trying to give them money for not giving what the panhandler deems “enough” (ie they were given $2 instead of the $20 they wanted). People who give food can. Have it thrown back at them (tuna can-dent in your car sound fun?) It is also dangerous because they more people give them money, the more aggressively they stand in front of cars and in the streets- and if they move in front of your car and you hit them they make lots of money 🙁 Seeing people giving out cash also makes more poor teens come out that “wash your windshield” at the stop light- often at times when I’d rather see these kids at home not standing in the middle of 4 lanes of traffic- (when it’s
    Dark and below freezing and all they have on is a light hoodie.) Traffic can’t move when the light turns green, it’s dangerous since these kids aren’t always great at getting out of the way, their hands are literally freezing while doing this in the winter and gas stations stop putting out windshield squeegees since the kids steal them for this. It just feeds these vicious cycles.

    I’m DEFINITELY not saying not to support these people, but to do so in different ways. For instance, my neighbor teachers at a school with high poverty (90+% free lunch eligible students) and our local schools have large numbers of kids coming from poorer neighborhoods.’ We send school supplies, food for thanksgiving for students to take home, the neighborhood donates to ‘donors choose’ projects in our local schools,
    You can also support local homeless shelters, coat and glove drives, or give extra blankets/coats/gift cards to local restaurants/etc to local police to hand out as they go about their rounds. Just STOP giving money out to people on street corners- it’s not safe for anyone involved.
    We were walking across the street once and someone in a car gave a homeless person something, and the homeless person was *SO* upset and angry we had to run to get out of the way as they started lashing out at everyone around them.
    PS I’m not trying to sound like a horrible person, I just want everyone to stay safe 🙂

    1. Yikes! It sounds like homeless people in your area can be rather aggressive. I admit, I have never dealt with that. I wouldn’t approve either.

      1. I think that due to a large VA Hospital and large methadone clinic in the area we have a higher than average population of homeless veterans (some of whom are mentally ill) and heavy drug users 🙁 It’s sad, but After seeing all these things,
        I feel that donating to veterans’ associations or community health initiatives is safer and better for all involved.

        1. The husband gave to a homeless person on his way home from school once in middle school. Next day the guy attacked him and tried to take all his stuff because he didn’t have any money for him today. He won the fight, not by hurting him crazy bad but by fighting hard enough to get away with his stuff. So even though I’ve given directly in the past (come to think of it, one guy swung his milk crate at me the day after I gave,) now that I know him we have a hard and fast rule not to do so in our household.

          I think the big thing is the mental illness. So many of the hospitals we used to have shut down all over this country. It just makes it too unpredictable giving directly, so we do so in other ways.

    2. In major cities there is a lot of mental illness. None the less these people still need food and clothes. Etc. I have been on and off the streets for 8 years panhandling being my main source of income. People can be very cruel to the needy and homeless. So u can understand someone with mental illness lashing out after days or years of people making fun of. Tormenting. Judging. I’m sure theuve has things thrown at them. Been harassed by kids. Adults. Police officers. These things happen to daily and t takes a toll on u mentally.
      Its hard to believe in urself and that ur life is worth living when you are constantly being told u are a worrhless bum. In everyway think able. But every once and a while genuinely kind people come around and restore my faith in humanity.
      Give to the people on the street. Charities get plenty of donations and help from the government…us homeless just seem to get barriers from them. They make it difficult to recover from homelessness.

  5. Hmmm…this is a tough one for me because the skeptic in me always wonders if they are really homeless or not. In New York, homelessness is almost a business and they can probably make more money panhandling then working a traditional 9-5 job. For me, I would rather support the causes that support the homeless like shelters, churches or food banks. I am still giving, but at least I know exactly what my money is supporting.

    1. Also I would like to say as a person who panhandlingfo r years we make no where near what u think make. I’ve been lucky to make minimum wage on a good because of believing everything they hear and judging where they have no right to judge.

  6. $60 was a generous amount to give to that guy. I would love to know what he did with it.
    I’ve always wanted to take someone to the grocery store or even through a drive through, but I’ve never done it.
    And what a jackass at the restaurant. I bet it was so hard for you to keep your mouth shut.

    1. Yeah, it was just the wrong setting. Plus, we’re strangers.

  7. Good post Holly & very thought provoking. I think we as a society like to push the homeless to the outer edges – almost as if to think it’s not an issue when it really is a bigger issue than many think about. I was at a networking event a few months back and the main speaker was someone who helps homeless vets and the numbers he shared were pretty staggering and that was just for here in Omaha.

    All that being said, I’ll readily admit the skeptical part of me questions at times their true situation and we try to find other ways where we can help out as a family. One thing I’ve done in the past, though can be difficult if I’m out with the kiddos, is offer to buy someone a meal. That may not always be the true need at the time but I like to be able to do something tangible. And the guy you were sharing about…wow!

  8. It’s sad because I don’t think many people realize most of the homeless suffer from some type of mental illness. So they end up on the streets. I give to our local food bank a few times a year and the Salvation Army. When I travel for business in a major city, I do give homeless people some money. I was recently in Portland Oregon and I was quite shock at the amount of homeless. It a sad part of life.

  9. I’m a little like Dee…sometimes I do give money, but sometimes I don’t. I rarely actually carry cash so unless they want my pennies, it’s not much. I think it just depends on each situation and how I feel. I do think homelessness is tricky and finding solutions has been tough. I feel better supporting soup kitchens and places like that because I KNOW they are actually feeding homeless. One time a guy asked me for money because he was hungry. I went an bought him a sandwich. When I crossed the street he threw it in the garbage. Of course like you said one bad apple…but it did kind of leave a bad taste in my mouth.

  10. Honestly I don’t have a problem with giving to the homeless, but still would rather purchase a meal vice giving money. Some people are just not sensitive to things such as this, and are too headstrong to realize that not everyone wants to be on the street. As a military person and a future retired veteran I am aware of the high percentage of veterans who are on the streets because of their mental disability and it breaks my heart.

  11. I don’t typically give to the homeless, there really aren’t many to come by in my community, but I do try to give to good causes when someone in my community needs help. For instance, there was a fire that burned down a man’s house and he lost everything he owned, including his dogs 🙁 Our community organized charities and drop offs where you could donate things or money to him. My community is also pretty good at helping local people out when they are in a medical crisis too. Those are things I like to give money, time, and “stuff” to.

  12. I don’t come into contact with many homeless people anymore (I did on a daily basis when I was briefly working in downtown Chicago), but my preference is to donate goods rather than money. We have some food pantries and other local resource centers that I like to donate things like food, first aid supplies, blankets, etc. to. I wouldn’t like thinking that my money is potentially being used to fund a drug or alcohol habit (that would just be contributing to the problem). I’d much rather go and buy a sandwich or something for a homeless person than give them that $5 or whatever directly.

  13. We recently moved to Colorado and have noticed that there are significantly more homeless people here than there are in St. Louis. It was recently on the news about this as well and they mentioned that most of these people are disabled vets. It’s truly sad that so many people are so mean towards them…

  14. I think it’s fine to give money to homeless people or to whoever you want. I would rather give it to someone on the street begging for change than to a politician. I don’t usually give to panhandlers because I don’t always feel safe pulling out my wallet and I rarely have cash. In our small town, I actually know or am familiar with several of the homeless and I do know they are going straight to the liquor store. I think the bigger issue is not enough services to help the mentally ill or those who suffer from addictions, especially those who are veterans. I would bet 90% of the homeless where I live fall into that category.

  15. I was a skeptic about giving money to homeless until it happened to a close family member. I learned the hard way that homeless shelters just don’t take walk-ins. That you don’t know their story. Mental illness was a major factor that lead to my aunt become homeless. Here’s what I learned; I give to homeless people with the thought that I am helping. What they do with the money is up to them. I can’t think, nor dwell on the bad side of the situation. You will always have people that totally suck. Bad people comes in all forms. Homeless people may seem aggressive to others in some situations or a pest but they are humans with mental illnesses and their own story.
    You are so right that a few bucks means the world to them and it does. Never say never because you don’t know what it is going to happen during your life journey. Take it from someone who lost EVERYTHING in a house fire and in less than 30 minutes was homeless!

  16. I donate money to homeless shelters annually and I prefer that over giving money to beggars because I not want the money being used to fund a drug/drinking habit which makes the situation even worse. At least with a donation to a homeless shelter there are controls over how the money is spent and you know it will go to a good cause

  17. I love this. I keep small bills in my car for this very reason. The “they’ll just spend it on alcohol” excuse to me is the worst — because it implies you have to have a certain amount of money to get alcohol. Plus, they don’t tell me how to spend my money, why should I tell them how to spend theirs? I give more to people on the street than I do to charity organizations, because I would rather chip in for a six pack than for flowers at a fundraising event.

  18. I think that lack of compassion is a huge, huge problem. I just always think “There but by the grace of God , go I.” I don’t want karma to boomerang back to me because I mistreated someone. I tend to give to organizations but there are moments when I have a very, very strong feeling that I should give someone cash -so I do. Once, I gave a guy $20 and he cried. I’ll never forget that. I also found out that my mom fed a man for a year while she was working at a grocery store when I was a little kid. He was living in a car (he was a former lawyer and lost everything) she was tasked with throwing away the food that wasn’t eaten in each day in the pre-made section. The food was still good. She would give food to that man every day that she worked-for a year. Can you imagine how much that helped him? People act like they won’t have hard times in life. You never know.

  19. catherine says:

    Given that we have such a good social assistance program here rarely are people truly homeless, NOT to say they aren’t in awful situations, but not many people actually sleeping on the streets…HOWEVER I rarely give money, instead I give stuff like the coupons I win for free coffee, and my professional time. The dentist I work with does a lot of pro-bono stuff as do I, I’ve done a ton of free work (gladly) for people with little to no money. I also always make sure to give toothbroshes and paste to those who even appear like they need it.

  20. I can’t stand people who despise the homeless. It makes no sense and shows they are ignorant (by choice) of why people are homeless. I know you mentioned that a few mistakes or bad luck could have driven them to homelessness, but a huge cause of homelessness is mental illness/disorder. I mean we talk a lot about people who have homes, families, a “good life” who have emotional/mental issues that need to be dealt with, can you imagine someone with a serious mental disorder that inhibits them from functioning in and understanding the world in a way that allows them to take care of themselves and have a home? It gets so much worse when someone is not only not getting the therapy and treatment they need but they are also homeless.

  21. When I was younger, our church used to go out and actually feed homeless people and I’ll never forget it. Giving to others teaches you a lot about gratitude and being a cheerful giver. When I was in high school my dad and I did actually witness a panhadler who was just running scams and making money off of people’s compassion. But I don’t judge every homeless person just based off that one weird experience we had. And I agree, you don’t know someone else’s story so you can’t really make judgements.

  22. I never carry cash, so I don’t. And generally, I’d prefer to donate to a charity. But I think all of your reasons are valid.

    And even if you don’t give them anything, please acknowledge them. Look, smile briefly. Just too many of us dehumanize them by not even acknowledging their existence. They’re used to people saying no, it’s not a big deal. But I’ve been startled just how much a look and a smile (even with a shake of your head) can seem to matter.

    Also, if you’re worried about the money going to drink or drugs, offer to buy them a meal or snack. They’re often doing this near/in front of a drug/convenience store or a McDonald’s.

  23. I give something to homeless when there’s always a chance. We know how hard it is to live in the street and sometime have no food to eat. Most of the time, I give food and clothes especially to those children.

  24. I was in the market area of our city one day when a young man asked if I would buy him a Pepsi. I was choosing my own lunch, so I bought him pizza as well as Pepsi. Besides thanking me, he shared with me the fact that he is able to communicate with aliens. Untreated mental illness is so sad, but kindness is good for mental health – even if just for the moment.

  25. I think the last reason you give is the best. Bad things sometimes happen to good people and if you put yourself in there shoes you feel a lot more sympathy.

  26. Barb Anderson says:

    I am on the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for the Homeless and live in Jeffersonville, Indiana. That conversation could have happened anywhere in this state. I loved the response it evoked from you and I thank you for writing it. Please know money is always needed but should be given as you gave, with a free heart and “no questions asked”. If I choose to give than I should, if I wonder their honesty and station in life than perhaps and organization or church ministry should receive my money. Bless you for giving and for the wonderful story!

  27. I believe in giving to the homeless but not panhandlers. Panhandling is a business. Giving to panhandlers doesn’t help the bigger problem. They are mostly addicts of some sort. Many homeless live in their cars until they can get back on their feet.

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  29. I literally stopped reading after, “My polite husband nodded and smiled uncomfortably. Me? I just sat there.”

    At the very least speak up for what you believe in, instead of just sitting there.

    1. Yes, because it’s always polite to get in an argument with someone in a fancy restaurant. Sorry, but you’re wrong. Sometimes the best thing to do is just ignore people. Otherwise you spend your whole life arguing with people. I have a much broader audience here and choose to share my opinions where they are actually wanted.

  30. I think you should give money to the homeless. Do you want the reasons why?? It is easy to lie and say oh they are an drunk or druggie. That is not always the case. Here in America we have asset forfeiture where they can just make one phone call with a false charge then take anything they want of yours without conviction. That is the law. Someone called up and said I was a child abuser so they could sell my kid’s video games, computers and ect.. to get them free. They even took their bikes and put them with a child molester 8 hours away. I worked over 25 years and they called my job plus lied. I was forced to quit due to lack of hours. I was also forced out of college. They can also slash your tires or destroy your car. They can hit your gas meters and poison you. This is asset forfeiture. It is wrong but it is the law. Do you want these homeless to steal from you to eat?? If not that stop this bad for America law. Our Sheriff Coroner is a Canadian named Tom Bosenko that hates Americans. His buddy ex counsel woman of Shasta lake, California is Delores Lucero ex gay porn star. She thinks everyone should be gay. Do you want these people calling on you and stealing your stuff with no conviction, no police report and no investigation? Do you want your kids placed 8 hours away with a child molester so they can steal your stuff? Then do you want to be left homeless and hated. Not even the church will help. All for theft that is legal. Please stop it. Innocent until proven guilty does not apply in America. They can and they can take your kids too just from a prank call. IT is wrong. Make America great again. They can murder you too without cause in California. Time to get real. They even took my food, yearbooks and more so they could try to get my ID too. Stop the insanity. Social security will not pay the victims and will go broke too.

  31. God Bless You, Holly! I give to the poor on the streets (and through charities and food banks) whenever I can. I used to live in the DC/Baltimore area and carried a roll of quarters in my pocket to hand out to those who asked. I always remember Jesus’ wonderful words: “give to everyone who begs from you!” from Luke’s Gospel. But look on the internet and you’ll see that it is amazing how many Christian preachers (and bloggers) do their best to explain this away… they’ll say “oh, but Jesus didn’t mean Everyone…only the worthy!” When I look at someone begging I see a person made in God’s image and think “that could be me.” Without empathy, we might as well be stones.

  32. This article is old thinking. I have been homeless and it is never good to give them money. You’re doing nothing different then feeding a drug addict their drug of choice. Homeless people are the way they are because society will not let them hit rock bottom; which is the only way they can choose to change their lives.

  33. I always think it is not my place to judge. I have googled what homeless people usually really do with money and it is not drugs or alcohol. Even if it was, they have to fix their own lives. Sure I have come across aggressive panhandlers. I don’t give to them. Sure I have had creepy moments once in awhile with the homeless where they sexually harass me (I am pretty sure one was mentally ill). Sure I have seen a gift card I gave a busker be given away to what probably was a drug dealer. Sure there have been a few so unfeeling about life that they didn’t react much, but none of those negative things matter to me. I have hugged a homeless man, and it made him happy. I have given another a warm meal which he ravenously ate. I have seen the look of happiness and surprise in their eyes when I have given my change or a few dollars to them. Just be kind. That’s all that matters.

    1. This is so Beautiul an True, just 2 days ago, after taking the kids swimming at the local pool there was a man who definitely seemed to fit the part standing at the corner of the shopping center that we had to drive out of to get home, when it becamr my turn ar the stop sign, I reached in an grabbed a $10. Bill I only had two of them in my wallett, One him and one for us… I rolled down my sons window whos (21) and he handed it to him I will never forget the look in his eyes for thise few moments before I had to drive, He thanked me profusely with tears in his eyes and I just said your welcome and God bless you repeatedly.. He was so genuine and sweet… My rule has NEVER changed, If I have anything to spare while out, I Do so… Bo quesrions asked… its NOT my business once I hand it over and frankly I dont care How they spend it, Its theirs now… its not my job to dictate, Im just so happy that sometimes I can help it feeds MY SOUL love and encouragement, Especially if I have the kids With me so they can see its best to *Just Love* They have definitely come to be empathetic bc they always ask if we can help if they see anyone with a sign etc… it makes my heart smile knowing Ive done SOMETHING RIGHT AS A MOM♡ I am NO better than anyone else, Im a single mom and 3 of mine have disabilities 1 both physical an mental… the others mental, How do I know it may Not one day be Us or one or all of them? I dont but I Pray if EVER the day comes that we find ourselves in their shoes that somone will Love us JUST THE SAME♡ I Grew up VERY POOR Very ubstable even living with a Substitute teacher once for a while in middle school bc my mom couldn’t afford to keep u both afloat, I went to 13 different schools… NEVER had a Stable home environment… I to this day also recieve assistance for myself an kids bc I lost everything when my son was born due to his disabilities and having to be home with him… I even lost my mother to cancer at rhe same time he was newborn… My world crashed down on me… But yet I realize that even though I Literally myself have NOTHING, in reality I have an Abundance comepared to SOOO MANY, and oe this Reason, I will ALWAYS LOVE AND OFFER Compassion whenever I am Lucky enough to come across the opportunity, These are humans ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT than You & I, who themselves I am sure at one point lived a very different situation… Life changes in the Literal blink of an eye, I am an example of This, Therefore I will Always always, always give from my Heart whenever God blesses me with the opportunity to do so♡ For I feel Blessed and my heart is full in those precious moments!!! If ever I could win a Lottery or have a way of funding I would in an Instant house or support as many as my life would allow, This is job here no matter how rich or poor we are, We can always take a Moment to offer SOMETHING, Even if just a Genuine smile or blessing, a Prayer a hug.. ANYTHING that reminds us that they are just as entiled as we are… We are ALL just trying ro aurvice the same game of Life… God bless you all, who just simply Love♡xoxo

      1. Please forgive all my Typos, I just re read what Ive typed and realized how messy it is… I usually just type an Proof AFTER Ive hit send.. Im Sorry!!

  34. I worked with the mentally ill for 20 years, at a government agency. All of my clients had some type of housing and food, yet there were some who bragged about the time they spent “begging” and laughed at the folks whom fell for their scam. Police working with our agency cautioned us to never give directly to street people for safety reasons- To hand out resource pamphlets would be ideal. Our organization connected donors with needy families (indirectly) which was an opportunity to provide exactly what was needed.

  35. This discussion shows a real spectrum of feelings about giving to folks who ask for handouts. Some always give, some never give, some give sometimes. There are probably people also who are moving on the spectrum … I’m one of those. I NEVER used to give, because I didn’t know if they’d use it well. Now I give on occasion. I read recently that Jesus taught us to give to the poor but didn’t add the condition that we need to know whether they’d use it well. I think that figures into me giving myself permission to make such gifts. In addition though, giving is always good for my mood. After I give I find myself replaying the event again and again in my head like a video clip… a guilty pleasure? I imagine I’ll be giving more and more over time.

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