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An Eye Opening Experience On Homelessness

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posted on Aug, 26 2007 @ 08:14 PM
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Homelessness is a subject that is never too far from my mind, and something I've discussed on these boards more than once. We all have varying opinions on the matter, and I strongly believe that all can be validated. Coming from a very small town that is predominately white, Christian, I sometimes hold an opinion that is no substantiated by daily experiences. Well, over the last week I've been in the downtown Toronto area on a daily basis. Spending several hours every day walking through the area, and a homeless man or woman is never too far from sight. It's unfortunate, but it is a reality.

This is nothing new, but I've come to the realization that there are really two types of homeless people. There are those that either panhandle and expect nothing (or do not panhandle at all), and then there are those that expect everything from everyone. Over the span of the last week, I've probably doled out at least $50 to men, women, and children who are sitting on the side of the street.

Any individual who is in a situation that bad where they are forced to lay a dirty Tim Horton's cup next to them, for spare change, is certainly in more need of a few bucks than I am. When I'm walking into a ball game where I spent over $60 on a ticket, or to a concert where I spent over $100 on a ticket, how can I possibly justify not giving the individual a dollar or two? Honestly? Sure I could say I worked hard for the money and I've earned it. But is that really justification?

It's more than likely that the money is only enabling that individual, but at the same time it might be the dollar or two that keeps the individual from having to break the law. Is that a good reason to offer spare change? No. Probably the worst. But if you want to look at this holistically, that might be an elder woman who still has her purse.

In the first few days that I was there, I noticed that at least nine out of every ten people, walk by as if the individual does not even exist. Maybe this is a coping mechanism so they can excuse not giving them some change. Or maybe they genuinely feel that the individual does not deserve it. Either way, I respect it. We all are our own individual, and we should not be faulted for our decision. But I found it slightly difficult to accept that so many people could walk by without being slightly impacted.

Then as the trip progressed, I found out why it was so easy to walk by these individuals.

I was introduced to the group of people that expect everything from everyone, without doing a damn thing themselves. The people that come up to you on the subway, and prey on the individual that is sitting by themselves, and ask them for $5 to make a phone call. And the manner in which they do it puts the individual on the spot and makes it very difficult to turn them down. You almost feel obligated to give them what they ask for, just to assure your own safety. It is these people right here that lead to the negative stereotype on all homeless individuals.

I still stand on the premise that it is better to give it to someone that doesn't need it, rather that not give it to someone who does need it. A few bucks here and there may get wasted, but I know some of it was money well spent.

It's unfortunate, but it is reality.

My intentions here are to hear some honest answers from other members on how they feel about this.

  • How do you feel about those that expect everything from everyone?
  • Are you more inclined to give change to someone who doesn't appear to expect it?
  • Do you ever give change to homeless individuals?
  • If you walk by and completely ignore a homeless individual, does it impact you?
  • Do you feel that, since you have earned your own money, there is no excuse that they can not do the same?

    Thank you!

    [edit on 26-8-2007 by chissler]




  • posted on Aug, 26 2007 @ 09:09 PM
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    The first time I saw someone standing by the side of the road with a sign that read, "Will work for food", it just broke my heart. I told the man that I had work he could do and I would not only fix him a warm, home-cooked meal but pay him for his labor as well. He responded with, "Couldn't ya just give me the money?" I said, "No" and drove on.

    The next time I saw someone standing with a similar sign on a corner that I have to frequently drive by, I went and bought a sack full of non-perishable groceries and brought it to them. As I parked my car and walked up to the woman, I noticed that she had on a pair of Mudd jeans ($50.00), Nike shoes (about $120.00), and had her hair frosted. Giving her the benefit of the doubt thinking that she could have gotten the nice threads from a second-hand store for less than retail and may have frosted her own hair, I smiled warmly and handed her the sack of groceries. She rolled her eyes, put the sack of groceries on the ground and told me I was blocking her sign and needed to move.

    I drive by that corner on a regular basis and I noticed over a period of a few weeks that these "professional bums" work in shifts.

    There are oodles of agencies (mostly paid for with my stolen tax dollars) that offer food, clothing and shelter, paid electric bills, free health care, educational grants, housing allowances, etc. ad nauseum. My neighbor is a welfare queen and knows of freebies and handouts that are not well-advertised. She prefers to live off these and not work to support her able-bodied self.

    I am willing and happy to help people that are trying to better themselves by becoming productive and non-parasitical members of society but I have nothing but contempt for those who only want a free ride and think the world owes them a living.

    Almost without exception, all the homeless people I have encountered have been alcoholics, drug addicts, schizophrenic, or "E-all of the above". Trying to fix their homelessness and hunger is an exercise in futility unless the issues of alcoholism, drug addiction and psychotropic meds are first addressed. That's just my experience, though. Others may have different experiences.



    posted on Aug, 26 2007 @ 09:42 PM
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    Charity and Homelessness

    I choose whom, where, and when I will give my hard earned moneys or substance.

    I brook no interference from others through guilt to make me come off my moneys. Moneys not freely given but coerced out of me by guilt is not charity. It is coercion. No thanks.

    My reason for this is at in certain evolutions of my occupation my moneys come very dearly. Serious risks are taken for my paychecks. I dont brook any such coercive behavior to make me come off my moneys involentarily by others...period.

    At the local Wal Mart until recently there was a olde blind man who stood out on a curb with an olde beat up cookie tin held in an outstreached arm. I put some moneys in it a few times from my truck window. One hot summer day instead of giving him moneys, I stopped at the local hot dog stand and got him a couple of dogs, some fries and a coke. Walking over to where he held out his olde cookie tin I gave this food to him and also told him to hold out his left hand. I told him I was putting a 5 spot in his left hand and to spend it wisely. Enjoy the food.
    A couple of more times like this and he asked me to call a certain taxi stand and for them to send him a taxi to pick him up. Explainig to them the situation they said.."ok...you want a taxi at Wal Mart to pick up Frank?"
    I said I didnt know his name. They replied that he slept behind the furnace at the taxi dispatch office. After that I always called him Frank when I dropped off some food and a "5" spot. Once in awhile if I had extra I gave him a 10. I did not mind this and was glad to help him as I knew he really needed it.

    On the other hand I know a woman who has been living out of her car for some two years now. She will text message me occasionally. I have no intrest in helping her out or taking on her burdens. I am not looking for a project to take on nor someone to rescue. I did however purchase a blanket/quilt for her during a very cold part of winter. I figure that if she can afford a phone she can solve her other problems in contrast to Frank.

    Nonetheless I choose to whom, where and when I will be charitable. It is my way and my moneys often earned at great risk.

    Thanks,
    Orangetom

    [edit on 27-8-2007 by orangetom1999]



    posted on Aug, 27 2007 @ 01:17 AM
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    Originally posted by chissler
  • How do you feel about those that expect everything from everyone?


  • I feel pity for them, that they have through whatever way come to act/think that way.



  • Are you more inclined to give change to someone who doesn't appear to expect it?


  • I can honestly say I don't know, since I've never really considered it.




  • Do you ever give change to homeless individuals?


  • When I see them, which is pretty rare, and I have any money with me, I do, yes.




  • If you walk by and completely ignore a homeless individual, does it impact you?


  • I'm sure it would if I ever had, but considering I will give them money if I have any on me,
    I've never experienced that.




  • Do you feel that, since you have earned your own money, there is no excuse that they can not do the same?


  • No, there are many reasons that someone may not be able to get a job and thusly money.

    I question the humanity of someone who does think that.



    posted on Aug, 27 2007 @ 02:42 PM
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  • How do you feel about those that expect everything from everyone?

    I don't think they should expect anything. No one owes them anything, no one has to give them money or food or anything. If they think people have to give them something, or don't take something because it isn't enough then they should think about where they are and change.

  • Are you more inclined to give change to someone who doesn't appear to expect it?

    I think I would be because even though they are in a pretty bad situation they aren't thinking the people are required to give them some change and they aren't ganging up on people like you said.

  • Do you ever give change to homeless individuals?

    Yes.

  • If you walk by and completely ignore a homeless individual, does it impact you?

    If I said yes I would be lying, unfortunately.

  • Do you feel that, since you have earned your own money, there is no excuse that they can not do the same?

    Probably, but a few bucks or some loose change can be excused, in my opinion. Now if they were asking for more then they could try to earn it themselves.

    [edit on 27/8/2007 by enjoies05]



  • posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 10:27 PM
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    Some honest responses. It is appreciated.

    This topic came up at work today, and I realized something that honestly disturbed me. I am more inclined to give money to any panhandler on the street, than I am over someone who sits on the street, looking like any other homeless person, but is playing some sort of musical instrument or providing a service of some sort. These guys and gals are trying to provide a service in some fashion, and only hope that someone can spare some change in the process.

    Rather than asking for something for nothing, they try to provide something.

    Yet I've always ignored them, and handed the money over to the person that really isn't doing anything. I'm not saying I should stop giving money to those individuals, but I feel guilty that I've ignored this population for so long, when I feel that they are just as deserving, if not more. Considering that they are willing to provide a service, rather than just ask.

    Not all of these individuals are homeless, and maybe some simply go out for the love of playing. But I would guess that a small percentage of these individuals are homeless, and it's upsetting that I've ignored them for so long.

    Thinking back to my week spent in Toronto, I can think of several times where I passed a man playing a guitar, to give the change to the guy with the cup. Both were equally in need of a shower, and I'm sure just as hungry.

    Why ignore the man trying to actually provide a service?



    posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 06:01 PM
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    I don't know Chissler, why do you ignore that man? I don't. When I have seen someone playing an instrument and someone not doing anything I would give money to the one playing the instrument. They do deserve it more because they are doing something while the other person isn't doing anything.

    How would you feel if you were the one playing the instrument and people walked by you to give money to the person just sitting there? I wouldn't like it too much.



    posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 01:07 PM
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    Originally posted by enjoies05
    I don't know Chissler, why do you ignore that man? I don't. When I have seen someone playing an instrument and someone not doing anything I would give money to the one playing the instrument. They do deserve it more because they are doing something while the other person isn't doing anything.

    How would you feel if you were the one playing the instrument and people walked by you to give money to the person just sitting there? I wouldn't like it too much.


    How much of my post did you actually read?

    I elaborated how disgusted and frustrated I was with myself for ignoring these individuals, and not understanding that they actually deserved it more. And that is your response? You ask me to put myself in their shoes?

    I think you read a few lines and then jumped the gun. Even still, I think you should of caught on to the tone of my post.

    Why have I?

    Because I always looked at the individuals with the instrument as in a better situation. I know several people that go out on a sidewalk and play an instrument, just because they love to play. If they get some change, so be it. But it's not their intentions. They go out because they love to play, and maybe a few people might like what they hear. So given that fact, I unfortunately generalized this onto everyone else who does the same, and assumed that they were in a decent situation and are simply playing due to their love of music.

    Those individuals, who I deemed in a decent situation, were not as deserving as the dirty, rough looking, individuals that lay half dead on the side of the street.

    This was wrong, I am aware of it. I am certain that if the situation were to arise again, I would choose differently.

    enjoie, as a regular here, I would of assumed that you read my whole post before you responded as you did.



    posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 01:46 PM
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    Originally posted by chissler
    How much of my post did you actually read?


    The entire thing...

    You ask me to put myself in their shoes?


    Yes...


    I think you read a few lines and then jumped the gun.


    No...

    You asked..


    Why ignore the man trying to actually provide a service?


    ...like I ignore them all the time...but I don't...so I told why I don't ignore them...because I wouldn't like it if I were in their situation...



    posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 02:05 PM
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    I lived in downtown Chicago for a few years, right next to a homeless shelter. At first, I gave away all my change -- I was being supported by student loans and parents. I had more, thus I should give, right?

    I was taught to give to those who needed it -- not because of the warm and fuzzy feeling of being generous, but because it's the right thing to do.

    Then I discovered that good intentions and right actions can become jaded themselves because of the differences between homeless people.

    I've been cussed out because a quarter wasn't enough. Or, less crude but not less rude, "Is that all ya got?" I've had homeless men grab the cigarette right outta my hand! (Ironic part was that I had a cold at the time...) I remembered these people, and I outright refused to give them anything. (In fact, one time I told a guy, "If you weren't being such a dick, I'd have given you something!" ...I still wonder if that was the right thing to say...)

    I know that living on the streets is tough, and it's quite difficult to not become jaded when people scoff at you constantly. But I fail to understand how a complete lack of manners (never mind humility!) will somehow win people's hearts... or, rather, their change...

    Those who do something, _anything_ for change -- they always got my change. Offer me a construction paper flower with a sticker on the petal and a staple in the stem. Offer me a poem. One guy, 'The Toad King', was the most down-to-earth homeless man I've ever met. I made sure *everyone* I knew knew of this man, and gave him whatever they could afford.

    I've seen kids playing 5 gallon buckets for drums. (They were damn good, too!) The cops were nice enough to let them play for an hour on one corner before asking them to move across the street. I didn't see them often, but when I did, I gave them some money.




    How do you feel about those that expect everything from everyone?

    - I don't honestly know. Expected charity is not really 'charity'. And yet, there are so many people with too much money, stuff, whatever... I guess, to some extent, I have an expectation of these people who have too much to share that with those less fortunate. But it's not mandatory, and forcing them to 'be generous' is not really charity...


    Are you more inclined to give change to someone who doesn't appear to expect it?

    - Like the people who just limply hold onto their paper cups, not even looking at the passersby anymore? Yeah. Break my heart every time I see it... no hope at all. :shk:


    Do you ever give change to homeless individuals?

    - Only the ones that aren't assholes about it.


    If you walk by and completely ignore a homeless individual, does it impact you?

    - Every damned time. After a while, I kept my eyes to the ground so I didn't have to see them. But I knew they were there.


    Do you feel that, since you have earned your own money, there is no excuse that they can not do the same?

    - No. I sat down and talked with more than a handful of homeless people -- most of them had their ID's stolen. They didn't have a chance to re-start. How can you prove that you are who you say you are without an ID? How can you fill out a job application without a permanent address?

    I knew which tower by the lake front that Oprah lived in (the one that's slowly tilting over the lake!
    ). I often wished that I had money -- not to sit in my tower and eat bon bons and tell other people how to live their lives... But to help homeless people. Give them a permanent address, a nice set of clothes, and money for the train. Help them re-gain their humanity that society (in one way or another) stripped from them.

    Of course, I also knew an english teacher who took a homeless man into his home, fed him, even put him up for the night. Less than a week later, the teacher came home to find his apartment cleaned out of all the electronics and "sell-able" stuff.

    6 of one, half-a-dozen of another.

    My parents refuse to give to any homeless person because they're jaded by the "professional homeless" that they deal with in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, I've seen and talked with war veterans that were kicked to the curb...



    posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 05:14 PM
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    How do you feel about those that expect everything from everyone?
    I feel they need to change their view, because they are letting themselves down in a negative sense as well as others. Morally it's wrong to expect hand outs, especially when you don't try.

    Are you more inclined to give change to someone who doesn't appear to expect it?
    Yes, I am willing to help if someone is in need.

    Do you ever give change to homeless individuals?
    Yes, I have before and will depending on situation. i would not like to contribute to an aocoholor drug problem, but rather buy them lunch.

    If you walk by and completely ignore a homeless individual, does it impact you?
    It would impact me knowing that maybe I can't help but should try and to not ignore the situation. Though I can't help someone who won't help themself.

    Do you feel that, since you have earned your own money, there is no excuse that they can not do the same?
    I feel depending on the situation, as some homeless people are mentally ill, addicts, disabled, ex-convicts with no options of housing or job or just plain out of luck for the moment, I may help them. Some homeless people I've know chose to be homeless because to them it is true freedom.




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