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Giving money to people on the street

(154 Posts)
Doodle Sat 22-Dec-18 20:58:23

DH and I make regular monthly donations to charities of our choosing. He thinks that is enough but sometimes I feel sorry for someone and drop some money in the cap of people begging or busking or just homeless. Today we came across an obviously homeless man in an underground subway living in a cardboard box. He didn't ask but I gave him some money. Latter I passed a youngish man trying to walk with a stick but with a bent leg and a bent foot slowly making his way along the high street with a cup in his hand asking for money. I gave him some too. DH says he thinks this chap was a fraud (how did he arrive in the high street if he can't walk much)
Do you give to people on the street or only donate via genuine charities?

M0nica Sat 22-Dec-18 21:05:50

I give to homeless charities and to individuals in the street. Not every time, but I gave to a homeless man last week. He was huddled in a doorway trying to keep out of the rain and had one copy of the Big Issue, as if he was selling it.

I do not always give and I have heard all the warnings, but I would rather risk giving to the occasional fraudster than not give to someone who is desperate.

EllanVannin Sat 22-Dec-18 21:10:07

Because there are so many frauds around you're hard pushed to tell if it's a genuine homeless person or not.

Iam64 Sat 22-Dec-18 21:27:45

I donate to charities and occasionally give a few pounds to homeless beggars. The idea there are so many frauds around seems over stated to me. The homeless beggars in our city and town centres are filthy, cold, thin and often carry their sleeping bag with them. The reports this week about the increase in deaths amongst homeless men and women confirm the increase in homelesness as a direct result of government policies. It’s shameful. We have one man living in a tent, with his dog, on the pavement outside our rail/bus terminus.

mumofmadboys Sat 22-Dec-18 21:31:42

I try and ask them if they would like a sandwich and go and buy them one and a cuppa. Often buy a Big Issue.

MissAdventure Sat 22-Dec-18 21:31:58

I always buy the big issue, and usually give to people I think look 'deserving'. Silly, I know, to think I could tell..

dragonfly46 Sat 22-Dec-18 21:33:37

I think it is better to give them a sandwich or a coffee. There is a guy who sits outside Sainsbury’s so it is easy to nip in and buy him something. I do wonder how he affords a mobile phone though!

MiniMoon Sat 22-Dec-18 21:38:07

On a recent coach trip we were provided with a packed lunch when went on days out. On two occasions we asked homeless people if they would like a packed lunch. They were accepted readily. I don't have spare change to give away, so I was pleased I was able to help on these occasions.

MissAdventure Sat 22-Dec-18 21:38:13

Just for the record, I do personally know someone who begs.
He has a shared flat, and gets full disability benefit for mental health problems.
He begs to get money for weed, gambling and so on.
Is he genuinely in need?
I wouldn't like to say. He obviously has problems, but lack of money wouldn't be one of them if he didn't make poor choices, which no doubt his health issues have some bearing on.

Charleygirl5 Sat 22-Dec-18 21:51:11

Many of these people use the money for drugs so I never, ever give loose change. I have bought the odd sandwich which was accepted.

NanKate Sat 22-Dec-18 21:55:56

I too give to street people. We had someone in our High Street last week who looked dirty, thin and very cold. I went and bought him a sandwich, a pair of gloves from the charity shop and they gave me a long woolly scarf for him. He seemed pleased to accept the offerings, however I saw him later with his hands under his armpits to keep warm but no gloves. I didn’t notice if he had the scarf on. I wonder if I did right.

My sister who lives in Italy says there are many beggars where she lives. There was one outside the supermarket. She went and bought him some cooked chicken and when she gave it to him he ate the food at such a rate as he was clearly starving. My sister has very little spare money but I think on this occasion she gave to someone who really needed her help.

petra Sat 22-Dec-18 22:41:44

You ask how he got there. Chances are he was brought there by his gangmaster who at the end of the day will take all the money he's begged for.

BlueBelle Sat 22-Dec-18 22:52:26

I don’t trust many homeless in my area I m sorry to say I know a lady in the homeless hostel and she has told me they always have spare rooms but most on the streets don’t want to follow the rules of the hostel no drink no drugs a young couple huddled in a shop doorway were offered a place but said they preferred making money on the street another couple of blokes were very rude to people who tried to help them with clothes and coffee and sandwiches and told them to go away they needed to sleep For a few weeks there was a young lad living in a doorway people were taking him sleeping bags food and money not knowing he had already turned three flats down so no I don’t give to the beggars on my home town streets... I prefer to give to Shelter or the local street angels

gmelon Sat 22-Dec-18 23:13:42

I do give. Usually a fiver and a can of dog food if there is a dog. Hastily purchased at the nearest shop as strangely I don't carry dog food around with me.
I've managed to learn to forget about where the money might go.
Give and then put it out of your mind.
You can see an emaciated body, some people with amputations. All due to drugs, yes.

gmelon Sat 22-Dec-18 23:16:04

Meant to add, I also do the shelter Christmas appeal. Twenty odd quid for a person to access food etc.
I've tried to get others to do it. Not much luck yet.

paddyann Sat 22-Dec-18 23:56:27

I give ,I'd hate to think it was one of mine living like that so if I can provide enough for a hot drink or something to eat at least its something.The fact that you do give is often a comfort to those in desperate need too so you are helping more than you think.
The number of ex service ppersonnel on the streets is shocking ,the deaths by suicide of ex military this year is appalling .The government is happy to send them to these hellholes but not so eager to give the help they need when they come back physically and mentally scarred.

We have a young friend who was in that situation.He lost his marriage and his home and ended up hundreds of miles away on the streets.Sadly he is now terminally ill ,not yet 40 ,some reward for his service to his country !!

Maggiemaybe Sun 23-Dec-18 00:02:43

No I don't. I personally think it's better to give to a homeless charity such as Shelter or Centrepoint, support your local foodbank and Big Issue seller. A fiver given to a scammer is a fiver that doesn't get to someone in real need.

Anja Sun 23-Dec-18 05:29:34

Had an interesting conversation with our local homeless man, Steve, today. Asked him if there was anything I could get him. He asked for a book 📚

Greyduster Sun 23-Dec-18 06:05:24

I saw something the other day I had never seen before. A youngish Asian lady begging. It was cold and she was wearing very thin traditional dress with no coat. DH, who normally never gives money to street people, gave her a couple of pounds. She didn’t seem to speak any English other than please and thank you. I couldn’t get her out of my mind and still wonder how she came to be there.

M0nica Sun 23-Dec-18 08:08:46

Going back up thread to EllanVannins post. I do not believe that there are there are so many frauds around you're hard pushed to tell if it's a genuine homeless person or not.

There is no evidence in all the many towns and cities around the country that the majority of people on the streets. I would say a large majority of those on the streets are not genuinely homeless.

Using the fact that a few are frauds to ignore the majority need is a comfortable way of avoiding facing up to the extent of the problem or doing anything about it.

Grannyknot Sun 23-Dec-18 08:18:39

Greyduster that's made me think ... I live in London and I never see Asian people begging. Would there be a strong, tight-knit community structure helping those in need in those groups?

There was a good/interesting programme on BBC not that long ago about begging. One young woman said it was a job (to supplement her income from benefits). She added it was either begging as a job, or sex work. The people who begged out of genuine need, referred to others as "professional beggars".

It may still be available on iPlayer.

Grannyknot Sun 23-Dec-18 08:21:07

The programme is still available:

Riverwalk Sun 23-Dec-18 08:21:43

I have a direct debit to Crisis and occasionally give a couple of pounds to those on the streets. I've been walking the streets of London long enough to know who's genuine.

Those of us who are up and about in the very early dark mornings see just how many people are sleeping in shop doorways, church porticos, etc - they disappear when the working day starts.

Iam64 Sun 23-Dec-18 08:42:15

Grannyknot, I'm in the north west, our local towns are all former cotton towns. In the 1950's the government invited people from Pakistan who had the necessary skills to work in the mills. Mill work isn't available any more but the communities of people of Pakistani Muslim origin are now well established.
We have one man who looks to be of Pakistani origin who begs in a specific place. I often see members of the Pakistani Muslim community giving him money. Despite the lack of employment, we don't see beggars from that community. I'm aware from my previous working life, that often times 'difficult' family members, especially young men, are sent to stay with family in Pakistan. It's seen as an eye opener, and a way of encouraging people to conform to family expectations. The local Mosques are actively involved in supporting homeless people here, giving out food etc.

M0nica Sun 23-Dec-18 08:44:16

greyduster was she Asian or Romanian? I have seen Romanian women begging and our usual Big Issue seller is a Romanian woman. I thought for sometime that she was Asian from her look and how she dressed, but discovered later that she was in fact Romanian.

The structure of families from many parts of Asia are different to ours. They have a strong sense of honour, admirable in its place, but prone to misuse, and, although I think this is changing a lower rate of marriage breakdown, and of course Muslims are not meant to drink, which probably reduces the number of those with drink and other substance abuse problems.