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Old 03-19-2004, 02:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Views of the Homeless

This is another issuse that always changes in how I percieve it. I like to help people out that beg on the street when I do have some extra cash or food or cigarettes for that matter. but sometimes I get so frustrated because I don;t have any money either and my city is full of shelters that give out free food and clothing. Then i feel bad for the homeless who are mentally ill and don't get treatment, well i feel bad for them until they start yelling and kicking at my car, then i just get mad again. What do you think?
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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he who chooses the beginning of the road, chooses the point at which it leads too.

i would like to say this isnt true, but for the average homeless person it is... these homeless people, its there own fault they are living on the street, they have or havent done something in the past which led them to the life they live. They are given a million chances a day to change they're fate, its up to them to make the difference, not the quarter you give them.
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Its a pretty arrogant and ignorant view to say that homeless people are homeless because they choose to be..

Im sure that they LOVE sleeping in cardboard boxes at the side of the road in the snow...

Most homeless people are there because society on the whole is not available to them. Shelters are there, but full, housing is hard to get and transitory, and jobs are hard to get when you cant get to interviews, and cant present yourself to the interviewer

life isnt that easy...
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am always down to give a homeless person money or change. I dont know why either. Its not like i am ballin' out of control. When i do give some money, it always makes me feel good. Its safe to say, for me, its hard to say no. I dont get mad or upset at them. They are just doing whatever it takes to survive.
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I rarely am in a position to help them. When i am, and when it is not inconvenient, i sometimes will though. But i rarely give money. If i am out walking around or something, i will take them to McD's or something and buy them a burger. Or go grab them a soda. If they come up to me telling me they need money for food, ill go buy them something to eat, or take them to the 99c store and buy them a couple days of food - bread, pbj's, canned stuff, etc. If they claim they need food, but just want money, then i know they'll waste it and they get nothing.

I rarely am in a position to help, but when i am, i will help them if i can, not throw money at them to buy stuff that wont help.
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by losthellhound
Its a pretty arrogant and ignorant view to say that homeless people are homeless because they choose to be..

Im sure that they LOVE sleeping in cardboard boxes at the side of the road in the snow...

Most homeless people are there because society on the whole is not available to them. Shelters are there, but full, housing is hard to get and transitory, and jobs are hard to get when you cant get to interviews, and cant present yourself to the interviewer

life isnt that easy...
maybe you are not exposed to the society in which i live in. Panhandling is a way of life for some people, its obviously they're income, and for what? Couple of hits or a bottle of booze..

this is simply my opinion, i may be wrong, but thats what i beleive.
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In all likelihood, my Aunt is homeless right now. We don't really know, because she basically disappeared. She show's up now and again, but less frequently than before. She's not homeless because she chooses to be, she's homeless because she is crazy. Being crazy is not a choice. She has few options, she can't be committed, because she has done nothing wrong and she won't commit herself, because she doesn't know that she is crazy. In some circumstances, yes, people made their own life choices and are homeless because of it. Not everyone fits into that boat.
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Being crazy or mentally ill is the only excuse there is, period. I don’t care who you are or where you live, if you honestly want a life of substance…it’s not all that hard to achieve. Living in a box because you can’t find a job? Bullshit, walk to the next town and keep trying.

If there’s nothing wrong with them, then they’re choosing to live that way…and if they’re choosing to live that way, then fuck ‘em…they’ll get no sympathy from me. I’m not baiting or trolling with that statement, it’s just my opinion, and I’ve had that opinion for a very, very long time.
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Old 03-19-2004, 05:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have seen a lot of homeless people. I try to help when I have the extra bit of money to spare, its not often but every little bit helps to those that have nothing.
The thing with homeless shelters is a lot of people that go to them are worried about getting robbed by others that live in the shelters.
I cant say I feel sorry for any of them really. There are a lot of organizations out there that are willing to help all they have to do is look and ask. There are places out here that will even help you find work some things are only day jobs and you get paid on the spot.
I mean the excueses that they use for being on the street some of them are just hard to believe. I can not believe that all of them havent got a family member to turn to.
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Old 03-19-2004, 06:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I feel bad for them sometimes, but I realised that many of them never try to get themselves out of such a situation. I've had the same homeless people come up to me so many times and use the same story which is not very beleivable after hearing it 5 times. "I just came out of the hosipital with xxx disease"
If a homeless person is doing something like playing music or something like that, I'd be more willing to give since they are trying to use a skill they have besides the skill of hagling people for money. I would love to be able to make them productive members of society but some don't want to.

-Robert
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Old 03-19-2004, 06:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I am usually in no financial position to help. If i was wealthy or had enough to get myself out of debt..that perhaps I would be more giving.
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Old 03-19-2004, 08:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Although I will agree that there are panhandlers who choose that lifestyle as a living, I wouldn't say most homeless people are that way by choice. Have you ever approached a homeless person and engaged in a sincere conversation? I would encourage you to do just that. Step into their world for a while. You may find your eyes open up and yourself less eager to judge once you understand the world from which they come.
Sure, you will stumble across a drunk or druggie wanting money for their next fix. He/she has an addiction and yes, it was a choice in the beginning but not any longer...rehab costs money. And what is the tale behind the alcohol or drug? The outsider looking in doesn't know the facts so how can they judge?
Ever visit a shelter? I have. I take shoes, clothing, toys, bedding etc. when I and my sisters or friends do spring cleaning. When I sit down and have a conversation with a mother and her children, there is nothing in the world that could convince me they WANT or CHOOSE to be there. And the shame that their husband / father feels because he lost his job that barely kept them above water from paycheck to paycheck and they can't afford child care so both parents can work and they never in a million years dreamed that they would end up in this situation. It is a wicked cycle for them.
Now the lazy people who actually have a place to live and lie with their sign they hold, they are the ones that create even more difficulty for those who truly need the help. They are the ones that put that doubt as to if we should help or not. And I loathe them for their abuse on society.
Obviously I could go on with many examples that I have personally experienced through real interaction with these people but I think I've made my point.
BTW: I am a hard working, single woman (at the same job for 17 years) who owns my own home and paid for everything inside of it and owns a car and has earned everything I have....and always, always only one job loss away from losing it all. I never take it for granted.
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I work in a homeless shelter, I know pretty much every homeless guy in town, most of them by name. They come in all types, some of them are honest guys who just hit some bad luck, you don't really see them panhandle, they just either hang out watching TV at the shelter all day, or use our counsellors to help them find jobs and affordable housing. Some of those guys do end up falling prey to the booze though.
Booze and drugs is what started the problem for some of them, they lost their jobs and families because of it, and couldn't/didn't want to get help. We have all kinds of addiction treatment programs, but most of them just aren't interested, kicking an addiction is hard, and you have to really want it.
We get a lot of recent immigrants too, they're usually the nicest guys of the bunch, I'm guessing they come from someplace worse than a homeless shelter and are just happy to be in a more developed country, they spend most of their time learning English and then seeking work.
The most disturbing trend I've seen recently is a big jump in teenagers coming in for meals, they seem pretty evenly split between junkies (who look, well, like junkies), and drug dealers (judging from their cellphones and clothes that I can't afford).

(It should be noted here that I have 'Carte Blanche' treatment from most panhandlers, instead of being asked for change, I get asked 'Hey Chef! What's for dinner?')
I pity the drunks and crackheads, but I won't give them money, I know it won't go to food. When I smoked, I'd usually give up a cigarette, unless I was running low. Sometimes I'll snag a handful of chocolate bars from the shelter and give those up instead of change, it's not money for Listerine, but it usually goes over well.
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well...the homeless are really home wherever they go, so maybe the more appropriate term is homefull.

/can't recall source
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I used to be generous and give them my change or food or whatever I had on me that I could spare.
But I realize that they're choosing to be homeless. I don't know if they just don't want to work, they feel embarassed, or think they can't get a job, but I know a few chain-restaurants & stores that they can work at. There are shelters who can help them get back on their feet again- only if they chose to.
Also, if I were to give to one homeless person, I'd want to give to all of them.
There's plenty they can do if they want to. I don't want to assume, but I hope they aren't doing it for pity......which I am sure is true for most of them, but who's to say. They all can do something about it.
 
Old 03-19-2004, 11:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by 1337haxor
If a homeless person is doing something like playing music or something like that, I'd be more willing to give since they are trying to use a skill they have besides the skill of hagling people for money. I would love to be able to make them productive members of society but some don't want to.

-Robert
So, if he's an entertaining hobo....he's alright???? j/k

It seems there are two sides to this. There are those of us who have seen the professional panhandlers who riff from one story to the next to grab some spare cash. Those who feed off the already strained system. These people choose to live this lifestyle. It's not glamorous, but they get by.

Then there are those of us who have seen the other side. The stories of lost jobs or burned down houses. The crazy folks who shouldn't be living out on the street, but there's nowhere else for them to go. Women running from abusive spouses. Men running from addiction. These people don't choose to live this lifestyle. It's not glamorous, but they get by.

You really can't have an intelligent discussion about this until both sides see that there are two sides to the coin. Not every homeless person is out there to rip you off; there are some who abuse the good nature of folks just passing through.

My advice is to watch out for both, catagorize them accordingly and apply your money how you see fit. I've seen too many examples and been too close for comfort not to do something. I for one give money when I can, but hardly ever to the same face twice. It's not a power thing. I only have a little money to spread around and I like to know it's going to be used for the right thing.

I know I'm waxing poetic here, but this is an important subject.
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Old 03-20-2004, 12:10 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by jay-g
I am always down to give a homeless person money or change. I dont know why either. Its not like i am ballin' out of control. When i do give some money, it always makes me feel good. Its safe to say, for me, its hard to say no. I dont get mad or upset at them. They are just doing whatever it takes to survive.

yeah i like doing that because i think it would be hard to beg for money from people, all day who ignored you
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Old 03-20-2004, 12:14 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I had a friend who would keep sandwhichs in their car for the panhandlers or suggest a nearby shelter to them. Sometimes they don't mind, sometimes they get mad, which is how you can tell the people who are making a living off of it.
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by junglistic
he who chooses the beginning of the road, chooses the point at which it leads too.

this to me seems to be the right thing to say about this.... I have a somewhat negative opinion of homeless people and this explains how I feel without me bitching about them.
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:39 AM   #20 (permalink)
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In general, it's a better idea to give money or goods or donate your time to a local shelter than to hand out food or change to the panhandlers. That's a stopgap measure that probably doesn't do much to solve the problem - it just makes you feel better for a little while. Increasing the capacity of homeless shelters to deal with the problems of the homeless - addiction, mental illness, depression, need for skills training - and making it possible for shelters to take in more people, including families, is a better if less immediately gratifying way to help out. I've seen it suggested that you carry fliers for local shelters and bus passes and hand those out, if you really want to help.

IMHO there's not much point in judging them. They got where they are for whatever reasons, and you can choose to help them or not. You're certainly not obligated to. Most people don't realize that the average family is 2 paychecks from being homeless. While sometimes people are homeless because they've made bad choices, other times they've lost their homes because of a series of circumstances beyond their control that could happen to pretty much any of us. Try being depressed when you HAVE a job and a home, and then imagine being depressed and homeless and trying to find a job.

The problem is not likely to go away any time soon. It may not be in your best interest to give handouts, but it's certainly in everyone's best interest to make sure that we're equipped as a society to deal with the problem and minimize the impact on people's lives.
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Old 03-20-2004, 07:31 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I agree with lurkette, I always donate my clothes and anything else to goodwill and homeless shelters. (There should be some really nicely dressed folks out there!) I donate everything from shoes to toys including expensive designer stuff, because I hope it will make someone feel better about themselves. plus you know it's going to be utilized correctly and go to people in need.

I collect toys and at the end of every year give them all away, alot of people in need have children and they are who really need to also be protected
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:20 AM   #22 (permalink)
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My feeling is that no matter how ther person got to be homeless they are still people and deserve some respect. How someone can't feel some remorse for a homeless person escapes me, even if its completely their fault. So if I can help a homeless person I do, but there aren't many homeless whwere I live.
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:24 AM   #23 (permalink)
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"they're just lazy...they should get a damn job! Then they wouldn't be homeless"

Sadly it's not quite as simple as that. It is a vicious cyle in many cases. Few employers are going to be willing to employ homless people, probably because they might expect them to be dishonest or unreliable.

I don't think that anyone makes a "choice" to be homeless, that being said, it may often be their own fault (e.g. it is my own fault for crashing the car, because I was speeding, but I certainly didn't choose to crash the car!).
They could be homeless for a number of reasons, drugs/alcohol, untreated depression, poor relationship with family, etc. These things may indeed be, "their own fault".
However, once they fall down into the hole of homelessness, it is not very easy to climb back out.
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Yes, we donate our clothes and goods every so often, and we don't bother anymore getting a receipt for tax return.

Last edited by :::OshnSoul:::; 03-20-2004 at 09:58 AM..
 
Old 03-20-2004, 10:02 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by The_wall
My feeling is that no matter how ther person got to be homeless they are still people and deserve some respect. How someone can't feel some remorse for a homeless person escapes me, even if its completely their fault. So if I can help a homeless person I do, but there aren't many homeless whwere I live.

That rings so very true, and saddens me about the nature of people, who think this is not a problem they should also be concerned with
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:25 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
maybe you are not exposed to the society in which i live in. Panhandling is a way of life for some people, its obviously they're income, and for what? Couple of hits or a bottle of booze..
I am exposed to that scene.. I live in the city, and I spend enough time in Toronto to say I live there too. We have pan-handlers, squeegie kids, and crazy people on every corner..

What I hate is people who paint all homeless/displaced people with the same brush.. I have volunteered at a shelter before, and its not a case of wanting to be there. I'd suggest what others here have.. go to a shelter, volunteer to do anything, pour soup, give out coffee, and listen. It's easy to seperate the career pandhandlers and the people who are trying to get out of the hole that being displaced puts you in
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:55 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I don't give panhandlers anything. I've dealt with too many of them who become belligerent and psuedothreatening when i tell them that they can't have a cigarette because i don't smoke. I'm not rich and am not really in a position to be handing out money to random people.

I don't blame someone automatically for being homeless because homelessness is inevitable in a society as materialistic as america. But i also think that panhandling isn't the most proactive way to get your shit together and generally don't feel like encouraging it.
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Old 03-22-2004, 12:05 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by losthellhound
I am exposed to that scene.. I live in the city, and I spend enough time in Toronto to say I live there too. We have pan-handlers, squeegie kids, and crazy people on every corner..

What I hate is people who paint all homeless/displaced people with the same brush.. I have volunteered at a shelter before, and its not a case of wanting to be there. I'd suggest what others here have.. go to a shelter, volunteer to do anything, pour soup, give out coffee, and listen. It's easy to seperate the career pandhandlers and the people who are trying to get out of the hole that being displaced puts you in
im from toronto as well, but looking at it statistically, im sure the ratio of people who have been thrown some bad luck and are struggling to make it out of the hole, is smaller in comparison to the rest who are simply digging themselves deeper
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Old 03-22-2004, 01:35 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bobaphat
In all likelihood, my Aunt is homeless right now. We don't really know, because she basically disappeared. She show's up now and again, but less frequently than before. She's not homeless because she chooses to be, she's homeless because she is crazy.

My sister is probably homeless (or dead) right now because she chooses to be. No, she didn't say, "Hmm, I think I'll live in a box." Nope, she chose to indulge in constant, immediate gratification with no worries about the consequences of her choices.

It is through this lense that I see most homeless people.

As Bobaphat and others said, there is no one-size-fits-all reason for homelessness. And don't get me wrong, being mentally ill is terrible. But I think most homeless people are lazy pieces of crap. I also think a lot of the mentally ill are that way due to substance abuse - their own choice. (I don't know the nature of Bobaphat's aunt's condition, and I'm NOT saying that she is a druggie)

I wish there was a way to help those poor souls who end up homeless through no fault of their own. Because being crazy and homeless is a rough way to go through life.
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Old 03-22-2004, 03:17 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Had you done a search on homeless here at TFP you would have seen this thread posted some time ago.

http://tfproject.org/tfp/showthread....light=homeless

IMHO those that are mentally ill need help, but there are plenty of people out there that are just plain lazy and don't want to go with the "establishment" If that's what they choose, then fine, I'm going to fight tooth and nail to reduce the amount of my tax dollars going to them.
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Old 03-22-2004, 09:34 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by junglistic
he who chooses the beginning of the road, chooses the point at which it leads too.

i would like to say this isnt true, but for the average homeless person it is... these homeless people, its there own fault they are living on the street, they have or havent done something in the past which led them to the life they live. They are given a million chances a day to change they're fate, its up to them to make the difference, not the quarter you give them.
this is a pretty harsh and broad judgement. i pretend that giving a quarter is the answer, but you seem to be comdeming alot of people without knowing there story. i think if you'd spend some time working is a soup kitchen or in a shelter, you might change your mind.
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Old 03-22-2004, 10:33 PM   #32 (permalink)
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each person has their own story. Some homeless folks are victims are circumstance, some are victims of their own decisions.

homelessness is a pretty hard position to dig oneself out of. It's hard to get a job when you don't have a place to shower. Just about any help we give panhandlers is just a stopgap, of course it's not addressing the underlying situation, or giving them a chance to change the direction their life is heading... but that won't stop me from helping out when I can. I just hate it when people try to feed me some bullshit story.
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Old 03-23-2004, 12:40 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I will not give money directly to a homeless person. I'd prefer to go buy food and bring it to them or drive them to a shelter. Then I know they will be taken care of and not use the money for alcohol or some other substance.

My advice to any that bash the homeless:: Place yourself in their shoes for a day or even one hour. Go without food, don't take showers, spend the night outside of your warm house and bed and sleep on the grass or concrete for the night without blankets or a jacket. No cheating and I promise it won't be easy!

For humanities sake I think most of the homeless people deserve respect and help from those willing and capable. I'd give the clothing on my back if I could help out another in need and would never expect a dime in return. The only expectation would be for some gratious person to help me if I ever fell on hard times.

Are we all high and mighty above our brothers and sisters? If we were the ones that were homeless, wouldn't we all want compassion and help?

I'd like to see the people who have a TV in every room, numerous computers/electrical gadgets, closet full of namebrand clothing, money enough to party every weekend to not be selfish or materialistic and give up some of your comforts for those who need it more than you. Changing this epidemic can happen if we all work together, side by side.
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Old 03-23-2004, 01:16 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I personally can't fathom living in a cardboard box. I'd go up north to remote woods. Find a place of public land and "squat". Hunt morning doves, squirrels, whatever I needed to survive. Living in the city is expensive and why stay there unless you are dependent on alcohol or drugs? I've seen to many able bodied individuals abusing the system.

My family has gone through hard times. It's hard work to drag yourself back on top but if you have the motivation you can and should do it. While we were down we used the services offered my our local church, food pantry, housing assistance, food stamps, etc. We don't still need those things because we worked hard enough to get back on our feet. With all the things out there to help people, if the people don't have serious psychological problems there is no reason they can't get their feet under them with a little extra effort. I've gone to people and mowed lawns for cash. You do what you have to.
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