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- Social Issues
Do The Homeless Really Need Money?
Does it really help to give money?
Many of us have heard the story of the police officer giving a pair of boots to a homeless man in New York City on a cold night. If you read the follow up on that story the homeless man is walking around barefoot again. Another story is of a of a man who had a homeless man living near his home and he told the man to help himself to his garden for food. As winter approached he gave the man a heavy hunting jacket to keep warm during the cold nights. A couple of days later he saw the homeless man walking around without a jacket so he asked him what happened to the jacket he gave him. He replied that he was able to trade it for a bottle of whiskey. There are many stories like this and it makes you wonder if these people are really down on their luck or do they choose to live this way?
I'm not saying that all people living on the street choose to live that way but many have chosen that lifestyle. They have to want help before you can actually help them and if they want the help they will find a way. This is human nature to want to help people however many take advantage of our kindness and can ruin it for the ones that really need it. Next time a homeless person asks your for some spare change just ask him what he really wants it for and if he says he's hungry, buy them something to eat instead, at least you'll know you didn't contribute to an addiction.
Are They Really Down On Their Luck?
When you drive up to a corner and see a man holding a sign saying "Homeless and hungry, please help" do you give them money? Many of us do and it makes us feel better however are we actually helping these people or just supporting their habits? It's hard to tell because there a few that really are down on their luck and may be hungry but many are just looking for their next fix. Ever since I gave a homeless person money on a corner only to see him walking across the street later on with a bottle of cheap booze, I have never given cash out to a homeless person again until I saw this video below. This is a heart warming story of a person who is down on their luck, given $100 then followed to find out how they would spend it. I since have changed my position on giving money to the homeless after seeing this video.
Volunteer at Homeless Shelters
Since then I've volunteered at homeless shelters to not only help with the everyday tasks but I've found out that the best help you can give to the homeless is to teach them skills that they can use to get jobs. Some of the skills you can teach are how to use computers and their basic programs, how to impress during an interview, sales skills are always useful and even how to cook. If you have any of these skills you can volunteer at many homeless shelters in your area and donate your time instead of money. It doesn't matter if your not a professional, as long as you can teach them something different that can help them get actual jobs it helps more than giving them money directly. By doing this your helping people that really want the help and you can feel even better about the work your doing. Family shelters are some of the best places to start because they usually have time limits on how long the families can stay in the shelter so time is of the essence. Try looking up some shelters in your area and give them a call to see where you can help in the skills teaching department.