a reply to: peppycat
Okay, you sound frustrated by a homeless alcoholic woman who may be expecting gifts and conversation from you.
If you are feeling frustration, it is likely that your personal boundaries are being invaded and you are being asked by her to feel guilty about her
situation and obligated to help her. That is part of her illness if she is an alcoholic. She needs other people to take responsibility for her
problems and she avoids taking responsibility for herself.
Does that sound familiar?
If you are in the United States, you can give her the United Way phone number "211" on a card. It is free to call from anywhere. She can connect to
services through them - they will give her a plan. She may choose not to help herself.
(If you are not in the US - United Way is a world-wide organization, OR, there may be other similar places you could send her.)
At that point, you can simply say "did you call 211?" and you may get excuses or "but they don't help me" kinds of answers. Just nod and say, "well
that is the best I can do."
Here is the website. You can even look up services in your area. After that, its up to you how you engage further, but you can do so with no sense
of guilt or obligation. That is her best chance of getting real help, from what I understand.
United Way 211 Services
Give her the 211 number and release any guilt or anger/sense of obligation you feel. If she chooses not to help herself, then you are free to do as
you wish - you can give her an occasional gift of food, medicine and conversation, freely, out of the kindness of your heart with no sense of
obligation, or not.
IF you do see her, always make a point to mention the 211 services. You may want to look her in the eyes, listen to her problems for a moment, then
firmly set your boundaries ("I have to go now. I hope you follow up with the United Way services!")
I worked for a church and we had a lot of homeless people come by and ask for money. We sometimes decided to give out grocery store cards and such in
"care packages" but mostly we gave them the 211 number and info. Our church donated TONS of money to local charities that the United Way folks in our
area would direct these people towards, as appropriate.
edit on 2-7-2016 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)