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Why You Should Give Money Directly and Unconditionally to Homeless People
The New Statesman ^ | Matt Broomfield

Posted on 12/23/2017 2:19:33 PM PST by nickcarraway

Who are you to judge what they do with that cash?

Don’t just buy them a sandwich from Pret. They’re not four. They have the right to spend their money as they choose – and it is their money, once given. Don’t just give to people performing, singing, or accompanied by a cute dog. Buskers deserve a wage too, of course. But homeless people are not your dancing monkey and they shouldn’t have to perform to earn your pity.

Don’t second-guess whether people are “really” homeless. Those who think begging is a shortcut to easy money should try humiliating themselves daily in front of thousands of total strangers who won’t even look at them or acknowledge their existence. It is gruelling, soul-destroying work. If people are desperate enough to beg, they need it.

Don’t just give to people who ask you directly, but to the guy with his head in his hands and a Styrofoam cup on the ground in front of him. Give to the woman who’s blind drunk. Give to the guy with meth-rotted teeth. Give to the spice addict who can’t look you in the eye.

Many street beggars are addicts, yes. Do addicts not deserve food? Wouldn’t you want to drink if you were in their position? Don’t you get drunk every weekend to cope with work stress anyway? Who are you to tell them what to do with their bodies?

As the founder of User Voice, a charity led and staffed by former homeless addicts, says: “If your money funds the final hit, accept that the person would rather be dead. If your act of kindness makes him wake up the next morning and decide to change his life, that’s nice but not your business either.”

Of course, it is true that your drinking habit and theirs are fundamentally different. Addiction is rooted in material circumstance – alcohol is the obvious example, but think how many skiing accidents end in courses of opiates far stronger than anything you’d find on the street without any long-term compulsion developing. It can only be tackled by raising people out of poverty, and a brute-force severing of cash flow is not going to starve people into seeking help from authorities they know will not, or cannot, help them.

Yet this abject morality, which says we must push people to rock bottom before we are able to help them, is seized on by austerity governments always greedy to do less. In fact, studies show begging emerges in the “middle-late stages” of homelessness, once people have already exhausted other options. The rock bottom has already been reached.

Eighty per cent of homeless people in the UK experienced no support or advice the last time they were moved on by police or council workers. When the government claims that most people begging on the street are refusing better help, what they mean is the help on offer is not adequate.

Homeless people need free, state-provided housing and fully-funded psychological care. What they get is £538m annual cuts to mental health services and austerity measures driving them into arrears with private landlords and on to the street.

The average life expectancy of a homeless man in London is 47. For women, it is 43. This is lower than the general life expectancy of any nation on the planet. These lives will be improved by systemic, not loose, change.

In the absence of an adequate government response, charitable giving and hostels remain lifesavers to many thousands of people. But big homelessness charities are already receiving millions yearly, while those deemed impossible to help die outside. When I speak to rough sleepers, it is local communities, squatters and grassroots organisations like the London-wide Streets Kitchen which they credit with keeping them alive.

“There is no need to beg on the streets in 2017,” leading London homelessness charity Thames Reach claims. “Hostel rent is covered through Housing Benefit [and] it is an urban myth that if you have no address, you cannot claim benefits.”

The charity, which is primarily funded by the government, makes no mention of the many gatekeeping barriers vulnerable people must cross to secure benefits and a stable hostel place.

Most damningly, they do not mention the fact that the foreign nationals who make up over half of London’s rough-sleeping population cannot claim benefits to access the hostel network at all. Rather, Thames Reach and other top charities shop homeless foreigners to the Home Office to be deported.

It is those same government-funded charities that push the narrative that “kindness kills” as they tout for your donations. Do not believe them. Apathy and austerity kill. Your kindness saves lives.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Food; Religion
KEYWORDS: charity; falacies; homeless; weird
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1 posted on 12/23/2017 2:19:33 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Let the mosques take them in.


2 posted on 12/23/2017 2:21:56 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: nickcarraway

“Most damningly, they do not mention the fact that the foreign nationals who make up over half of London’s rough-sleeping population cannot claim benefits to access the hostel network at all. “

I bet the person who wrote this supports importing more Muslims.


3 posted on 12/23/2017 2:25:31 PM PST by MNDude (God is not a Republican, but Satan is certainly a Democrat)
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To: nickcarraway

Goodness. If they don’t want the sandwich, they aren’t that hungry. I’ve got a responsibility to make sure I am a good steward of what God entrusts to me. If I can help it, I am not going to buy more alcohol for drunks or drugs for addicts, even indirectly.

If they don’t want the sandwich when their sign says their hungry...


4 posted on 12/23/2017 2:25:50 PM PST by refreshed (But we preach Christ crucified... 1 Corinthians 1:23)
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To: nickcarraway
These lives will be improved by systemic, not loose, change.

A bold theory, lacking supportive data.

5 posted on 12/23/2017 2:25:50 PM PST by NautiNurse (Don’t make me pay Ferrari prices for Chevy Vega health insurance.)
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To: refreshed

their should be “they’re” Autocorrect.


6 posted on 12/23/2017 2:26:31 PM PST by refreshed (But we preach Christ crucified... 1 Corinthians 1:23)
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To: nickcarraway
I've been homeless for six months. 60 yo vet and can't even get a job @ BK.

If it wasn't for the occasional "sandwich from Pret's", I'd probably be pushing up daisies.

7 posted on 12/23/2017 2:26:45 PM PST by ex91B10
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To: nickcarraway

I assume this article is satire.


8 posted on 12/23/2017 2:27:32 PM PST by robroys woman (So you're not confused, I'm male.)
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To: nickcarraway

Why give them any?


9 posted on 12/23/2017 2:27:37 PM PST by Reno89519 (PRESIDENT TRUMP, KEEP YOUR PROMISES! NO AMNESTY AND BUILD THAT WALL.)
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To: nickcarraway

To the author, Take a flying leap and land on one of those bums.


10 posted on 12/23/2017 2:27:37 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: nickcarraway

this from the UK? I do not care what happens to the homeless in the UK!!!


11 posted on 12/23/2017 2:28:09 PM PST by ronniesgal (still winning !!)
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To: ex91B10

Serious? You’re homeless?


12 posted on 12/23/2017 2:29:18 PM PST by MNDude (God is not a Republican, but Satan is certainly a Democrat)
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To: nickcarraway
Who are you to tell them what to do with their bodies?

There used to be a saying that "he who pays the piper calls the tune." Same rule should apply to beggars and countries that accept foreign aid.

13 posted on 12/23/2017 2:29:46 PM PST by Bernard (The only Fair Tax is the Tax that Taxes You and not Me)
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To: nickcarraway

Buy them a bus ticket out of town. Or give them a year in jail they get three squares a day and plenty of leisure!


14 posted on 12/23/2017 2:30:38 PM PST by Davy Crocket
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To: MNDude

Serious as a 35 degree Texas night.


15 posted on 12/23/2017 2:30:42 PM PST by ex91B10
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To: nickcarraway

Nope. Will be used for alcohol or drugs.


16 posted on 12/23/2017 2:30:58 PM PST by DennisR
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To: nickcarraway

LOL, so to keep my money from being spent on things I don’t approve of, I need to keep it in my pocket, ok, message received.


17 posted on 12/23/2017 2:32:55 PM PST by dangerdoc
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To: ex91B10

So at this exact moment you are living on the streets?


18 posted on 12/23/2017 2:33:14 PM PST by MNDude (God is not a Republican, but Satan is certainly a Democrat)
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To: nickcarraway

Not a chance. Lots of agencies and charities are set up to help them. If they need help, I let the professionals do their jobs.


19 posted on 12/23/2017 2:33:37 PM PST by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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To: nickcarraway

I had my fill of the homeless when I worked in downtown San Diego. It was non stop harassment—not just verbal. Arm grabbing and spitting on me were how these poor souls expressed their outrage when I didn’t fork over my hard earned cash.

And they weren’t asking for your loose change. This was in the 1990s and my colleagues and I were on the receiving end of demands for $10-20.

No sympathy here.


20 posted on 12/23/2017 2:34:09 PM PST by jazminerose (Adorable Deplorable)
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