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Perspectives on the Needy and the Homeless

Updated on April 16, 2018
Sometimes, homelessness is a choice that we cannot change.
Sometimes, homelessness is a choice that we cannot change. | Source

Examining Issues Related to Helping the Needy and Homeless

When problems of the needy and concerns about homelessness are probed the results offer some thought provoking surprises. My attempts to post comments on the issues are sometimes rejected because of length or because of my views, but it was an event on December 3, 2013 that caused me to finally write about the topic.

Private Organizations Reaching Out to Help

Reading the tone directed at Christians in some posts on homelessness also helped me decide to share a little about what I know of working with needy people groups. That not everyone calling themselves a Christian really is one doesn’t seem necessary to say. It is not news that some of those people are actually predators who couch their own agenda with Christian terminology.

Defining help is important, but it can't be forced on an individual or a family.
Defining help is important, but it can't be forced on an individual or a family. | Source

To judge all Christians by the bad behavior of some people is no fairer than viewing homeless people stereotypically. Unless a person knows all about how Christians truly live, the judgements come across as a writer trying to cover their own lack of actions to help the needy and homeless by pointing fingers at others.

While I do not work directly with the homeless, I do some direct work with the disadvantaged. As well, I do help support several Christian ministries whose goal is to reach out to the needy and/or homeless in various ways. By highlighting three of them as samples of the work being done I hope to help others better understand the efforts.

These ministries receive little to no government assistance for their non-profit works specifically because they are Christian-based even though they abide by all government health and safety regulations. The majority of their fundings come from individual Christians and church bodies.

Their employees and volunteers are approved via official background checks and they choose sacrificial service rather than the popular entertainments that most people are involved in during their personal time away from jobs. The organizations are structured so that there are multi-levels of accountability to both religious and non-religious officials.

Less talk, more doing...
Less talk, more doing... | Source

Samples of Outreach Ministries

• Example 1 is a longstanding but small work overseen by a large church. It is small because those running it have close interaction with and oversight of those who come for help (resulting in a high success rate). It is a ministry specifically for men who have been caught in the web of substance abuse and it works with parole officers. I just recently spoke with one of the men who benefitted from the program a few years back. I see how he not only maintains the benefits he received, but also works to continue growing personally. He now purposefully reaches out to others.

Example 2 is a larger ministry working with local law enforcement on behalf of women and children who come from abusive situations. The successes are wonderful, but the burnout of workers is high. As an example, one of the facilities is well maintained (by the funds of many Christians) with individual living quarters so the broken family members can have some privacy for healing and then work toward solutions for their future. For the safety of everyone in the building at any given time, and to aid in the education efforts, there are some rules. Often--way too often--those who are taken in rebel at rules such as participating in the cleaning of the facility. This kind of person will damage plumbing/cause flooding, set fires, and more, all because they are not allowed to do anything they want at anytime in the facility. They create constant stress for workers who are doing their best to provide safety and opportunity for many needy women and children.

Example 3 is a considerably larger organization with shelters specifically for men, shelters for women/children, children’s homes, food/clothing programs, education/work opportunities, and more across the region. In such a large ministry there are many successes as well as the failures. No one can know whether a person who walks in the door will benefit from the ministry. These Christians can only reach out to those in need. They are heartbroken when anyone who comes to them for help refuses that help and chooses to go back into a lifestyle that destroys. A few years ago the media took the news of a man who died in this area’s freezing temperatures one night and used it to highlight the plight of the homeless. What they did not report was that the man went to one of this group’s shelters (on such nights they do not turn away anyone who wants help). He refused to stay because they could not allow him to endanger others by continuing his substance abuse there. He chose to leave the shelter and go back to his preferred lifestyle. It was a terrible decision on that night.

The Salvation Army Angel Tree program provides holiday cheer to needy children through the generosity of community members.
The Salvation Army Angel Tree program provides holiday cheer to needy children through the generosity of community members. | Source

The truth about what happens in some of these situations is often enlightening. The education can be heart rending, but that fact does not deter the true Christians who are working to reach out to the helpless in our society.

These experienced workers and generous contributors are not uninformed. Most are highly educated, many with amazing day jobs. They do not hate, consider the needy to be criminals, or want to see them shot as some writers indicate. To them, the successes make it all worth the effort, but the failures do make their work very difficult.

Do we need more volunteers like these to establish and work in shelters? Most certainly, but there are roadblocks in the process. Society in general does not like that they are Christian based. Our government has come so far from the principles our country was founded on that not only does it refuse to promote or protect many truly Christian organizations, it opposes them.

I see the successes of these ministries and others in our area. Other successful Christian ministries are doing the same work in other places and I cannot help but wonder what would happen if those who attack Christians for their methods would instead support the positive work being done.

Everyone can help in some way.
Everyone can help in some way. | Source

Fundamental Issues Need Solving

The blindness of the government’s methods that have resulted in such colossal failure to truly help people is stunning, but it speaks the truth of Proverbs 4:19. Squaring the methods of Christians who try to help the homeless with the government’s methodology that is rife with corruption and abuse is an inequitable comparison that leads to wrong conclusions.

Examining and trying to solve just the entitlement issues that the government’s welfare programs have created would be a monumental task, but continuing in the same path with those practices is creating an ever bigger class system that is holding citizens embracing it in a grip that continues to tighten.

Working to help these people successfully rise above their circumstances requires a fair study of the history of the welfare system, getting in the trenches with those working to help today’s needy get out of the system (many now second and third generations into it), and making an honest evaluation of all the facts involved for every type of homeless person (which ranges from the truly needy to those with a welfare mindset that handicaps them for life).

Another possible look at solutions is to think of what could happen in the private sector if for just one season all football proceeds went to provide for the homeless. Can we expect the businesses in the industry to donate it? Would it be more reasonable to think that the patrons could be convinced to donate one season’s worth of ticket money to the cause?

Either way, the amount of money that could be used for relief would be huge, but not one dime of it would be a solution for the large and varied issues of homelessness. The questions on whether the goals are to solve the problems or to encompass a society with regulations that limit them on every level because they are dependent beg to be asked.

Help organizations that are helping the needy.
Help organizations that are helping the needy. | Source

Can Government Solve the Problems?

While a number of concerns and solutions could be discussed here, an experience that I could have seen coming if I had been paying closer attention to the signs in our current society has stunned me into speaking up.

In early December I was behind a smiling lady checking out in a store. She had a cart full of items, I had only two, but her items were already being rung up when I stepped into line.

As the checker worked to ring them up, the lady ran back to get one more thing, and we all smiled ‘tis-the-season smiles. On returning she was chattering about how she is like a kid in a candy store at Christmas time. I merrily replied, “Well, you only get one chance a year to enjoy Christmas!”

Just as I said that, two poor looking women walked in the door to shop. I don’t know if they were homeless, but they certainly looked quite needy. They heard my comment and laughed very loudly at me. They began saying that "because Obama is in power we get to enjoy Christmas every day of the year" and more.

Can you imagine how shocked I was? The cashier, the lady in front of me, and I just stood there blinking at them. My heart went out to them with compassion--what could be said to such ignorance? They were indeed needy, but the welfare monies they were apparently enjoying certainly were not meeting their true needs.

They rauciously cackled at us as they walked on into the store. There was no shame, no desire to better themselves, no understanding of where such thinking will lead them, their families, and this nation--nothing but a determined mindset to take from others. What had already been provided to them had not helped them.

Please understand--they brought the President into the conversation (if it could be called that), not me or the other ladies standing there. This came from their thinking, and their thinking is a result of a government’s complete failure to give people what they really need.

That failure is always inevitable because governments do not have the power to produce in people what they need to make them respond responsibly in life. We need government because one person’s rights end where harm to another begins, but government cannot change a heart’s thinking.

Dealing with Those Who Ask for Help Requires Discernment

Several years ago our church was having a picnic in a park that is local to our buildings. A panhandler who was often seen in the vicinity passed through the park at the time. One of our men offered him food and drink, then began a conversation with him. He answered questions freely.

Long story short, he was asked why, when he was obviously able-bodied, he would stand on street corners with a sign begging for help when he could be working in the area. His reply was that he could not make nearly as much money. He was satisfied to take from others using a lie.

The question of whether we should try to help has been answered.
The question of whether we should try to help has been answered. | Source

Another large ministry that reaches out to homeless men is located near a downtown area so the outreach can be more convenient to the men who congregate there. While on the property or in the buildings the men are not allowed to smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs, of course. Advocating enablement would be foolishness.

Out on the sidewalks and in nearby parking lots, though, some of the men spend their time loitering as they smoke and there’s no doubt about other activities for the police are constantly trying to solve the problems created by their substance abuse. They obviously have some money coming in and they choose to squander their lives with it.

Not all needy/homeless people make that choice, but we have too many examples of those who do. These selfishly use up public and private resources that should go to help those who need and want real help. Thanks to ministries like this one and the ones mentioned above, there are some wonderful success stories.

They Uphold the Rules, It's Called Care

Solving the issues so there can be more successes must include addressing the corruption and abuse within the government’s welfare system and reassessing its ability to provide what people need. Privatizing the system on local levels would be a big step in the right direction, in my opinion, but some who are in true need do not want the accountability that comes with what is offered from private organizations.

In the meantime, volunteers doing what they can to work with and support those who are intensely working with the needy is not a small thing. It has to happen one person at a time on a personal level if it is to be effective. It isn’t easy, but it’s important, and it’s important to do it right rather than to increase society's dependence on a government mushrooming with its own obeseness, doomed to die if it does not change its ways.

Realizing the goal behind attempts to help is essential to success.
Realizing the goal behind attempts to help is essential to success. | Source

With Good Will Toward All

Are You Willing to Take an Opportunity to Help?

Searching “homeless shelter” offers anyone who really wants to help some tremendous opportunities. As well, getting in the trenches with those who are already reaching out to the needy and homeless will give those with little knowledge of what it takes to provide what is needed a beneficial education.

I live in a quad where four states hold hands. Just one of the many opportunities to help in the Atlanta, GA area includes Atlanta Mission. South Carolina has a state SCIWAY that lists Help for Homeless People. One report highlights more than 30 homeless shelters in Charlotte, NC. Tennessee’s shelters listed on the HUD.GOV site are spread across the state.

Checking out homeless shelters across the nation that could use donations and perhaps volunteers is not difficult. A quick look at Indianapolis provided a list of 17 shelters on Skipping down to Texas there is an easy-to-find list of about 40 shelters. Catholic Charities alone lists 4 shelters in the Denver area. The number of cities listing shelters in California was 360, with Hollywood having a total of 82 shelters.

Other opportunities to make a difference in lives include the Angel Tree program with Prison Fellowship that reaches out to the families of incarcerated parents, and the Salvation Army Angel Tree program provides gifts and clothing to needy children during the holidays.

I just finished shopping for four children thanks to a group of people who banded together to generously provide the funds (some in the group are Christians, some are not, by the way). My husband purchased eight bicycles for the same program thanks to a different group of similar donors.

Also, there are several organizations that provide crisis help to military families such as USACares (working to stop foreclosures and rental evictions, provide job assistance/relocations, and more). There are also opportunities to reach out to the specific needs of these families with organizations like cru when soldiers are suffering from PTSD.

Get in the trenches and be a problem solver!
Get in the trenches and be a problem solver! | Source

Do you try to help the needy and the homeless by any of the following methods?

See results

Young Professionals Reaching Out to Help Others

Learn More About Issues Related to the Homeless:

Reading up on the issues is important if we want a balanced look at how best to offer aid to the needy:

• A short discussion including 4 sound ways for Christians to help the homeless in their communities with useful links to more information

• An NPR interview that touches on several points, including the addiction to public assistance. Worth reading through, but it’s important to remember that this is a random sampling of homeless experiences.

• Stay safe when anyone asks for help. Families who have had children kidnapped by someone they tried to befriend highlight the dangers that must be considered when helping the homeless. Nonprofit Risk Management Center offers some good advice. Volunteers should use discernment.

GoodWill Industries Job and Employment Services

More to Consider:

Issues faced by society in general criss-cross each other in interesting ways:

• What can you do to make extra money?

• What is charitable work?

• What can be said, "Merry Christmas, or Not?"

• What are we teaching children about themselves?

• What can parents to do find community resources?

Finding Work

Offering a needy person a job is one of the most beneficial things people in a community can do, but what keeps a person working when it's easier to depend on government subsidies or handouts? What keeps a person from giving up on a job in the first place? 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller gives people a tremendous opportunity to look for more than a job. By stepping back and exploring just what it is that would be fulfilling to them many people have used Miller's method to find a new and satisfying career. It is a great resource to recommend to anyone in need of a new start.

Had you examined ways private organizations try to help the needy before reading this hub?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 11 days ago from the short journey

      Dale Anderson:

      Thanks kindly on all counts. So appreciate that you visited this post and left your comment. Will be looking for your article.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 12 days ago from The High Seas

      Thought provoking article. I have been working on a hub of my own about this same topic so I will share it with you when I am done. Keep writing, your hubs are interesting.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 months ago from the short journey

      Thank you for your thoughtful response and for highlighting this post at this time of year. And yes, indeed, bless those who are working diligently to reach out and help people in need.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I see you are bringing attention to this noteworthy post once again. The solutions to helping the needy and the homeless are many and are as individualized as each person needing help. Obviously everyone needs to be on the same page or it does not work. There are many good comments left below. For people who have never worked in the trenches, reading this might be an eye opener.

      Government welfare is a lifeline to some who need it but should never become a lifestyle of choice. So many good private organizations do a terrific job in reaching out to help others. Of course the persons being helped must actively participate or that also goes nowhere.

      Not an easy topic to discuss without rankling some people nor are there easy solutions. Bless the people who try out of the goodness of their hearts to help others. We need more people like that!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you very much for reading this hub and adding your comment to the discussion. What you've noticed is true in too many cases, but as you say, it's the government way.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from USA

      Your comments are very thought provoking. There are many programs out there, but the one thing I notice is that in many of them, when the recipient does anything (like try to train for a career) they are kicked out of the program. That's our government!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Shyron E Shenko:

      I'm sorry that these folks are homeless, but am thankful for each of their sakes, as well as others', that they are not "gaming the system" in any way.

      There are so many possibilities regarding the issues each faces. Suggestions for help include:

      1) the book PsychoBabble by Richard Ganz. Your friend might find it to be a helpful read.

      2) using an advocate to work with agencies that locates help for the disabled.

      3) providing a life coach to at least help her determine what the main problem is.

      There could be other options, of course, but thank you for being a friend to these needy people.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Au fait:

      Thank you for a thought-filled response and for sharing some of your experience with us. It increases the opportunity for good dialogues which potentially helps everyone.

      On your opening comments, I think the problem is that too often people lump all who say they are Christians into one stereotypical bunch. It's important to remember that any number of people can have any number of reasons for calling themselves Christian when they have no real interest in what Christianity is but only have using it for their own agenda in mind. Sometimes that's obvious, sometimes not so much.

      Unfortunately, your cigar man's attitude is more common than people realize, and that's sad for those who are truly needy but willing to accept the kind of advice and help that would really benefit them. A little probing like you did with your question about giving up the cigars until he could pay his debt is very profitable for all concerned. He may never decide to do right, but at least he had the opportunity. You were able to save your time/effort/money for someone who would use it for their own good rather than squander it.

      Your ending comments are still making me smile, especially, "...God's well-qualified hands…" That is such a comfort when we have done our best to do what we could, isn't it?! It's sometimes too much to try to think everything through and we can't do it perfectly even when we try, but what joy it is to know that God is indeed well able to sort it all out in the end. He knows who is trying to do good in Jesus' name for His honor and glory, and who has selfish motives on either side of any issue.

      However, we do have much in Scripture that teaches us the concepts of applying wisdom. When I think of decent people reaching out to help the needy I often think of people like Elizabeth Smart's parents.

      My heart breaks for how they must have suffered because of their decision to try to help the man who kidnapped their daughter. They were only trying to do a good thing as they went about their daily lives.

      Their circumstances are unique to them, as with other similarly tragic victims, but my point in using the example is that we have a bigger safety net if we put our time/monies into helping sound organizations that have multiple levels of accountability overseeing their experienced efforts as opposed to trying to go it alone.

      That is not at all to say that there are never times when we should not give help individually. It's just that there are several levels of carefulness about what would be most helpful in a situation, about our own safety, our resources, and more that we need to consider.

      Thanks again for helping to highlight the topic as we are all in a learning process with this evolving problem.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Hi Robert,

      I know three people who are homeless. One has a mental problem. One is disabled but can not get disability, the third one lost her job and cannot find another one. None of the three are gaming the system.

      Very interesting Hub will share.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I am one of those people who have written about how homeless people are abused by the police and by people generally. I have written about specific cases where this has happened and sadly it would take a set of books to include all the terrible things that are done to homeless people because some people don't see them as human or consider them to have any value. If nothing else, homeless and poor people give Christians the opportunity to be who they say they are -- Christians.

      However, I would not suggest that those people who are contributing their time and other resources want to harm homeless people in any way. Why would they be working to help homeless people if they found them contemptible? I don't think volunteers want to shoot homeless people nor have I ever suggested it.

      I have also written an article about who are the homeless people of America, and only 20% of all homeless people are chronically homeless and have issues with fitting into society due to mental disorders, addictions, and so forth. Many homeless people actually have jobs but simply don't make enough money to pay rent or the costs of signing a lease -- security deposit/first & last months, rent, etc.

      I have been personally acquainted with a few people similar to the man you mentioned who said he couldn't make as much money working as he did begging, and that's why he chose to beg. It is unfortunate that some people take advantage of the generosity many people have towards the poor because it hurts the truly poor. People aren't sure who really need help and who doesn't.

      One day a man who has been homeless, he said for 30 years, asked me to help him find the magical words (he knew I write here online and to him that meant I could think of just the right words for his situation) to bring his 'FundMe' listing to life. He was asking for help to pay the registration on his old dilapidated van, about $65 he said. He had received only one $25 contribution and nothing more. He believed I could write a plea to be posted online that would bring in more contributions.

      As I talked to this man he was chain smoking little cigars which I later priced online at $7-8 a box of 10. I figured they were fairly expensive and even before my bit of research I asked the man why he didn't just stop the cigars for a few weeks and then use the money he would save to pay his registration that was more than a year overdue. Have no idea why he had never been stopped by police for his past due sticker in all that time.

      The look and protest I got when I suggested he stop smoking was similar to a very angry cat. Have you seen the hate that beams from a cat's eyes when they are very, VERY angry? That is what I got for my suggestion. I also told this man where he was all but certain to get a job if he could pass the background check, and again, I got that look. Not only THAT look, but he quickly walked away from me, glancing back with that look every few seconds. You would think I had suggested something horrible.

      This man avoids me now and when he must be in close proximity pretends I'm not there. Fine with me. I feel he is one of the people who makes life harder for truly needy people because he really is lazy and doesn't' want to work like most people must do. I have had experience with other people like him, both men and women. I know they are out there and IMHO making life more difficult for the truly needy because people learn about them and then question who really needs their help and who doesn't.

      Qualifying for public assistance is not easy and many people who really need assistance can't get it. If someone is on public assistance they have had to pass some difficult hurdles to qualify. That is one way to recognize needy people.

      I understand that people often want to help, and may even volunteer their time to help, but worry whether or not the people they are trying to help really need help or if they will utilize the help correctly and not use it to buy drugs or alcohol, etc. -- and not simply sit around with their hand out and make no effort to help themselves.

      The only thing I can say is that God blesses people whose hearts are in the right place. If a person gives what they can in time or money or other resources (job leads, transportation, and other) and the recipient squanders that help, that recipient will answer to God for their deeds and the person whose heart was in the right place will receive their blessing no matter what the end result is. God always rewards a kind heart.

      So I would say that unless a person knows for a certainty that someone is a con, they should do what they can to help a needy or homeless person and then put the outcome of their action(s) in God's well qualified hands. I know it's hard for some Christians to trust God to bring about the best outcome, but that is what we must do.

      As I have gotten more involved with needy and homeless people I have found it easier and easier to determine at least 90% of the time who is the truly needy and who has made a career out of appearing needy. At the same time I try to remember everyone isn't me, doesn't necessarily share my values, or my skill in stretching money further than anyone ever thought it could. By that I mean that truly needy people may not spend my contribution as wisely as I think they should whether it is money, information on where to find a sure job, or advice on how to get the most for their dollar. We are not all the same, but one thing I do believe is certain is that God will guide us if we will let Him, and He will see that our efforts are not lost even if He is the only entity who can see the good that is done.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      sujaya venkatesh:

      Thank you for the feedback.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      a hub for a noble cause

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for sharing your comment here! Accountability is exactly why real solutions will come from solid organizations on local levels. While none are perfect, it is the opportunity for accountability that makes the difference and gives successes to the efforts.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for responding to this hub from the perspective of your experiences. The issues are far more complex than the media presents them as, aren't they? We need to give real consideration to all angles faced by the homeless and by those who reach out to help them rather than responding simply on our emotions.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      We help with our different church ministries, the food pantry does a great job. The government is so not accountable for anything, so either are the people. We have no accountability anymore. Thanks for this hub.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You nailed it when you state: fundamental issues need addressing. If they are not this nightmare will continue. I was homeless once and know what it feels like.

      And when I was teaching I had homeless children in my was a hard life for those children. I often wonder how their lives turned out.

      Thank you Rtalloni for focusing on this ever current issue.

      Angels are headed your way and to all of those who find themselves with no home tonight. ps

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      sujaya venkatesh:

      Thank you for coming by and for adding your comment here!

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      a nice piece on charity and generosity

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for reading this post and for helping to raise awareness on the issues.

      We are once again turning the year's corner to go into the "giving" season and we should be prepared to set emotion aside and think through whether the opportunities to "give" during the fall and winter are valid and/or the best choice we can make.

    • profile image

      verakasper 2 years ago

      This is such an educating article. I will share this!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Yes, some who claim to be Christians act in direct opposition to the Word of God thereby complicating everything and that is a story for another hub, but it's important to remember that in every sort of group--doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs, mothers, fathers, teachers, families, business organizations--all have an element in them that lives/works contrary to the principles expected from members of the groups. I'm sorry for the difficulties you faced but I am thankful that you've been able to persevere and come to a better place in your circumstances. The lessons learned, I'm certain, make you better able to speak to the issues. Thank you for coming by and for helping to continue the discussion with your comment.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      You have written with such insight and touched on so many truths. It is a shame that programs that can be of such benefit are questioned by some because they are Christian. (Sadly some who wear the mantle of Christian set an example that is contrary to what those on the outside looking in would think of as Christ like behavior. But that of course is another story for another day.)

      I have been the 'needy, the homeless' (wrote about it here on HP)---it did not feel good at all...we were treated like second class or worse citizens. It was a lesson in humility.

      Thank you for writing about such an important topic. We as Christians will and should continue to do for others who need our assistance.

      Angels are once again on the way to you this afternoon ps

      Voted up++++ shared and pinned to Awesome HubPages

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Yes, a little first-hand experience with the people involved can be a real education, can't it? Keeping a right perspective and trying to help is the best we can do in some cases. Thanks much for sharing some of your experience here.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Working at the Department of Human Services for many years, I have seen those who really appreciated help and those who were simply taking what they could get because they were too lazy to work for it. I have helped those I thought needed help and sometimes been "bit" when I find that they were just taking advantage of my kindness. Never the less, I will still help those that I think need and deserve the help.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      So appreciate that you stopped in and helped highlight this topic with your feedback. Getting a grasp of what the real needs are is what will help solve the issues of homelessness rather than put a patch on them. I hope that the concerns in Ireland can be effectively addressed in the best interest of everyone.

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 3 years ago

      Thank you for writing on this subject, homelessness is something that really gets to my core. In ireland there really is not enough done, for example the ministries outreach program sounds like it could be really great for many on the streets here. Unfortunately they are left either to try and get a sub standard hostel or just to their own devices on the streets.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks for stopping in. The situations people face re the needy and homeless are each one individual and unique. I'm not sure what the situation with the 90-y-o man is, how it has been addressed, what the issues are, but it will take people taking action rather than expecting government to handle them. If we leave them to government to handle we'll only see more freedoms eroded. If people work together on behalf of those in need community by community on a private level, there could be some real successes.

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 3 years ago from USA

      Today, I had an email asking me to add my signature to a petition on Change "dot" org, about a 90-year old man in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Evidently it is illegal to do that in aforementioned city. What are things coming to? I found the article on CNN, too.

      Hopefully, enough people will be greatly disturbed by this recent event, and take action to help him and stop any additional idiocy of like nature.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Mel Carriere:

      Thanks much for stopping in. The issues that people face when they work to try to help the needy and/or homeless can be as varied as the people they reach out to, and they are sometimes impossible to overcome. Wisdom and insight into the situations is needed by the workers, something that no government can provide. So appreciate that you added to the discussion.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      You are definitely doing the Lord's work and bless you for it. If these anti-homeless "christians" really cared about scripture they would know that Christ literally commands us to give the shirt off our backs. Great hub!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Yes, I know the story, but maybe one day the time will be right.

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 3 years ago from USA

      Ah, RTalloni - I can't - too busy!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks so much for letting me know you feel this is worthy, particularly since you have experience with homelessness. Maybe you should write that book!

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 3 years ago from USA

      Great presentation! I HAVE been homeless, albeit for a short time. It was extremely difficult for me to get help, although I only needed it for a few weeks. My family has taken many homeless people into our home, and I could probably write a few books about our experiences.

      The public at large seems to "look the other way", for the most part, but needs to be reminded that many of the homeless do not want to life that lifestyle - they need help!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Dolores Monet:

      Thanks very much for stopping in and letting me know you enjoyed reading this post. Yes, we will always have the truly helpless that we need to try to help, but far too many people capable of taking care of themselves and their families are taking advantage of the systems in place for helping those who are truly needy. Finding those who will use the help they're given to step up and build their own life actually builds a society that is better able to help the truly helpless. This fact makes it even more imperative that we take a close look at how our government system of welfare undermines the process of building a society and makes it a dependent one, which can only last so long before it folds in on itself. Closer to home, though, I hope your friend can find the help he needs. If you are in contact with him you might like to read the book PsychoBabble by R. Ganz:

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I enjoyed reading your article on the needy and the homeless. I know a man who is currently living on government handouts and has been hospitalized many times for alcohol addiction. His family has given up on him. But the man is, like many in his position, either mentally ill or has a personality disorder. Perhaps he's been ruined by years of abuse. It is very sad. But I think that the idea that he could pull himself up by his bootstraps is an impossible concept. He is lost. If not for government housing, he would one day be found dead on the street.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks for your visit and comment here. Looking at all the angles and thinking the picture through rather than just listening to the rhetoric is crucial to being able to offer real help. I mentioned this book

      in an earlier comment. A new book worth reading on the topic of trying to help others is

      Thanks again for adding to this discussion!

    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Homelessness is a true tragedy in our society. I work in social services, specifically with teens in the foster care system, and most of the those kids have experienced homelessness at some point. It's amazing how many mental disorders and addictions run through that population because they have lost hope. Also, it's not uncommon to see homeless people be guarded and protective of their things, especially food, water, and shelter, because they may not know when they will have it again. Thank you for spreading the word about getting involved!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      The efforts to address the needs specifically, as you mention, include protection for all involved. Because the crime rate among the needy/homeless, even against each other (though some try to portray them as a family working together),

      dividing men from the women and children, as well as dividing everyone into smaller groups (a difficult task all by itself) is a crucial aspect of trying to help them. An informative post on responding to the crime issues can be found at:

      Thanks much for your visit here and for good input to this discussion!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I like the way you addressed the need to be specific-i.e. targeting homeless shelters specifically for men, women or children. This makes it easier to address their needs and just makes more sense.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for stopping in and for your feedback. Experience is a good teacher, isn't it? It is an interesting study to research and see what others are doing to try to help.

      I was in Washington state this past week and heard a news report about how attempts to help the needy/homeless were thwarted by the responses of the very people who workers were attempting to help. I hope to eventually remember the specifics and look up the report so I can post it in this hub.

      So appreciate that you helped highlight the issues with your comment so dialogues are encouraged, both online and privately among families and friends.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      It's good to know there are organizations that have some success in reaching out to the needy. Good for you for supporting them. We also have had experience in helping the needy but as your grocery store experience shows, they must have the desire to better themselves. It all starts in the heart.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks for your visit to this hub.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      Never easy. This is a difficult road but probably one well worth travelling. God speed!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Millionaire Tips:

      Thanks very much for your feedback on this hub. I know it's not an easy topic to think through, but it's important to do so and comments here help keep the dialogue on the issues going. So appreciate your visit and response!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Homelessness and helping the needy of any kind are complex topics. I hope that the light you have shed on the different perspectives will help people who have made up their mind at first glance to open up and realize that their stereotypes may not be as valid as they thought.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for your visit here and for adding to the discussion with your comment. A useful reference for the question you have tells of Dr. Richard Ganz' personal experience and work with the mentally ill can be found at:

      Though it does not give the statistic you mention, the author has first hand experience with the failures of modern psychology, he examines some of the interesting issues around the topic, and offers proven wisdom to counselors and others who are interested in helping the needy.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Yes, the difficulties involved in helping the homeless are very sad. Thank you for your response to this post. I very much appreciate your sharing this hub because approved comments on it do not show up in my feed, making me wonder if new comments are seen by followers. Keeping discussions going, being willing to openly discuss all the angles, examining the issues from the inside out is all so important, but too few are willing to stop emoting so they can do that work.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Thoughtful analysis--I would be interested in knowing the statistics regarding the number of homeless who are mentally ill---I believe that correlation is very strong--so mental health services must be part of any solution--

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It saddens me that helping the homeless has become so difficult. What began as simple is no longer this way... Education and offering advice on how to make the system work better is the first step -- you are taking it by writing this hub. Thank-you. Vote up, sharing.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      It is sad, no doubt. Thank you for stopping in to add your comment to the discussion.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      It is really sad that everyone who needs help does not receive it; on the other hand, we must commend those ministries which try to make a dent in the problem. Thank you for bringing these situations to our attention.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks again for adding to the discussion here. The best to you and yours in the New Year!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I certainly did not mean to imply that YOU held any opinion about skin color...I believe it is the current congress that is guilty of racism.

      I appreciate your time, and I believe such discussions can be valuable, so thank you for the taking the time to respond to each of my posts. You are right--we agree in some places, and not in others. I shall leave it at that. Finis. I shall not trouble you further on the matter.

      I wish you well in all your endeavors.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Again, for those who received help that they truly needed and particularly for those who through no fault of their own were brought to desperate circumstance and have been able to use it carefully to work toward their future, I am glad, and am not accusing any of being freeloaders. The main focus of this hub is about those who try to offer real help to even the freeloaders.

      Still, the longstanding problems our society faces today is indeed partly the responsibility of short-sighted and worse political leaders from even before the welfare system was established. However, what we see happening now cannot be blamed on past leaders. At this point people, even many who voted for the current president (perhaps the daughters you mention, I don't know), are simply tired of the unkept promises and worse behaviors.

      A person's color is not their behavior. A person’s skin color is not a reflection of their character, integrity, morals, or anything else that counts toward what kind of person they are. I must state here that to even hint that I hold our president's skin color against him is extremely offensive. If that is what you meant then I respectfully state that you could not be more wrong, and I know no one who does so.

      One president left us with a priceless quote about truth: "You can say a dog has 5 legs if you call the tail a leg, but that does not make the tail a leg." He understood that since truth never changes, opinion can be endured as long as truth is free to dissect it. He tried to live out the concept that truth invites scrutiny but error demands tolerance and that, in the end, truth stands.

      We need to see that kind of thinking and living from our leadership. I am actually saddened by the Russian roulette that many political leaders play with the truth because of what it means for them personally, not to mention the rest of us, but they do not believe the truth that will set them free. They cannot help themselves and they refuse the help that could be theirs.

      I am sincerely sorry if this discussion has only worked to frustrate you more. As I’ve pondered what my best responses might be to all of the comments on this hub I hope my understanding of others’ views has enlarged. I also hope that you can find the help that will let you overcome discouragement and have encouragement for the future.

      I don't know the details about how the future of this country will work out, but I am thankful to be able to give the possibilities some serious consideration and do what I can to promote ideas that could be useful and encourage others to privately support those who are effectively reaching out to needy and homeless people.

      There are points that we agree on and I’m glad for that, too. Whatever happens in this country, history teaches us that citizens need to study out points of federation to use as a foundation to help each other. Thank you for adding to this discussion with your comments.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I was going to send you an e-mail to continue this diaglog, but you don't have that enabled.

      I don't like feeling like a freeloader because we got a mortgage modification. We didn't buy a house out of our means; in fact, when we moved here, we paid almost the entire cost, leaving only a very small (less than $40K) mortgage for tax purposes. A few years later, we were going to replace kitchen cabinetry, and in the process discovered a very dangerous electrical situation that had been hidden by the prior owners. We had no choice but to do a full-on gutting and remodel of the kitchen For that, we needed an equity loan. We got what we needed, but unfortunately, my husband at that point was already starting to feel some of the early effects of the medications from his heart condition, and that affected his memory and analytical skills. We ended up victims of one of those predatory loans. Add another 4 years, and his health deteriorated further, and we lost our ability to run our business, and therefore lost our income. I was unable to find work, (the old 'try and prove it' age discrimination), and in any event, I need to be here as his caretaker. So, we had to have the mortgage mod--with his health, becoming homeless would have been a death sentence.

      You and I obviously disagree about the POTUS; the downhill slide was started by Regan and his "trickle-down" economics..but that stuff trickling down isn't money--it's sh**. Then Clinton gave us a surplus, which the Bush regime squandered and more, leaving the deficit. Obama simply inherited the mess, and something that took over a dozen years to happen is not going to be fixed in 8 years. Add an ultra-conservative congress holding the majority that has blockaded everything he's trying to do, (for one reason only--they don't like that a black man is the president--twice, no less!), and you have the current situation where nothing gets done. Of course, not one of them will ever admit that, but it's more than obvious, when you consider how many of them have flip-flopped, and stonewalled the pres. on issues they previously supported.

      I could go on and on, but I'll just leave it with 'we'll have to agree to disagree' on that point. And that sums up the entire problem in a nutshell. You cannot educate or change the mind of someone whose mind is firmly made up one way or another. ( "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.") That's what makes me feel helpless and hopeless just writing about the problems. My articles about corruption in government and corporations get almost zero traffic. No one wants to know. They just want to keep living in their little fantasy bubbles. Sad to say, my own daughters are among those.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      First of all, no need to apologize on either count. I didn’t take it as a rant, but simply as an expression from one who, like many, is overwhelmed. As for length, real discussions are important and they take time, so it’s not a problem.

      Yes, writing about issues is something. To consider well what the problems really are, what the solutions could look like, and to write about them so they can be discussed is helping. It is something because without the dialogues people don’t get motivated, deceits grow, and answers aren’t found.

      What the president did/is doing is repeating what we’ve seen in the past. Federally mandated community redevelopment/reinvestment programs of the 90s restructured (strong-armed) bank policies (banks who were only too willing to sacrifice the future for immediate gains) into granting loans to people who weren’t qualified to pay them back.

      On the other hand, too many people wanting loans for homes they could not afford were irresponsibly agreeing to do business with said banks. Those who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to live beyond their means ignored the fact that the trouble with that is it cannot last and that the consequences create complex and far-reaching problems.

      Such big problems can’t be fixed by repeating past mistakes. Reestablishment of sub-prime mortgages (forced low interest) can only add to the problems. Future taxpayers will work and sacrifice a long time to pay those bills and one can’t help but wonder if they are already the future homeless.

      Immediate relief is not usually a real problem solver, but it does win popularity. The president has not/is not solving problems. Taxpayers will continue paying for what he has/is doing until a policy change or a crash ends the long-standing insanity. It’s sad that some people were forced into the streets because of what happened, but very, very few on either side of the conflict are innocent in the big picture.

      The abuses in the welfare system include far more than the fraud examples of your relative and the ones I mentioned. It’s more than the experience with the two women I mention in the hub who are so proud of their fraud. It’s no surprise that these people exist.

      They abuse their children with neglect and the fact that they do it on our dime pales in contrast to the suffering of the children. What too many of them grow into is dreadfully sad. I’ve lost count of how many social workers I’ve met in the last 10 years and they all agree with this conclusion. Because they see it day after day they can’t deny what’s happening.

      The fact that the frauds and their children are actually being abused by a government that is allowing their fraud to continue via our taxes is another layer of the situation to consider. That abuse is striking, making thinking people wonder why the government would do such a thing on such a consistent basis, and that doesn’t touch the abuse by the government of the taxpayers themselves.

      Within the HHS what we do know about the abuses of funds is incredible, leaving huge questions about what we don’t know. With no practical accountability, the leadership and staffs have proven that they will continue to take advantage of the funds funneled through their offices and there is no change in sight.

      The question that recipients, taxpayers, and politicians need to address is whether the current so-called help being offered by “the government” is merely another face lift on the issues’ already weakened facade. The history of the welfare system shows us that the continuing decline is going to look like a train wreck resulting from a failed brake repair.

      On your last concern, I agree that “the government” should provide top quality care to members of our military. What “the government” is doing by cutting monies to help both our enlisted personnel and veterans is going against the taxpayers wishes.

      “The government” has no money unless people pay their taxes and what is being done with our money makes me see red, too. The military does provide at least some high quality care for veterans--I’ve seen it first hand--but without funds they cannot provide all of the care they would like.

      While your income, like many other peoples’ including our enlisted personnel’s, has been degraded, the president took one summer vacation that cost taxpayers approximately $100 million. Breaking down the costs for just the vacations is stunning, and the current Hawaii Christmas trip is looking like no exception.

      If we ask what’s the difference in what he’s doing and what other presidents have done we have to answer, not too much, especially if you are used to counting in the billions of dollars, but that’s the point. We’re seeing more bad behavior in every arena, not less.

      What all this points to does not mean, though, that we should not have a compassionate response and try to help people who are in need. No matter what governments have done in the past throughout the world, charitable peoples have found ways to help others where they can.

      It’s a happy exercise to imagine what society might look like if “the government” actually supported rather than opposed the work of non-profits and gave them the freedom to use taxpayer’s monies to do more of the work that’s been proven effective. Taxpayers could even choose which of the non-profits their portion of the taxes could go to rather being forced to support the failing welfare system.

      Expanding on those imaginings will eventually bring us to the conclusion that even that wouldn’t work out perfectly. There would surely be those who try to take advantage of such opportunities, but non-profits have proven to be much more viable than the welfare system, partly because their accountability systems expose those frauds and place them in the criminal justice system where they belong.

      And, sure, there will always be potential recipients who just want a handout, who try to selfishly work the charities’ programs, but at least in those settings there is someone in place to be a real friend to even them by calling them on the carpet about their behavior and holding them accountable for their actions.

      Real charities try to help fill the gap in an imperfect world. Society faces many bad situations and we should be working toward effective solutions, but “the government” cannot provide what people need to make them act responsibly even if they take all of the taxpayers monies and pour it into a welfare system--think communism which when applied quickly began dominating through oppressive government mandates every facet of peoples’ lives and has a record of colossal failure.

      That inability is why it is imperative for private individuals and businesses to support sound, credible charities, particularly on the local level where in-depth accountability for all involved can be maintained and personalized work with recipients can be most effective.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thank you for your well-voiced reply. I agree that we must all do what we can, and if writing about things, and sharing posts on FaceBook is what our physical limitations allow, then that, we hope, is at least something.

      However, It IS "technically" President Obama who helped save our home by enacting legislation through executive order to FORCE the banking institutions guilty of predatory loan practices to work with at-risk homeowners, and reduce their principle in order to prevent loss of the home. Prior to that, many, many people lost their homes and were forced into the streets, or sub-standard housing.

      When I see advertisements on TV for such organizations as "Paralyzed Veterans of America," I see red. Yes, I'm glad they are there to help, but I fail to see why such an organization should be necessary. It was the GOVERNMENT who sent them to an armed conflict in another country, putting them in harm's way, and I feel it is the GOVERNMENT who should bear full responsibility for superior health care when they return wounded, and must be rehabilitated. They treat our military as disposable entities, and it infuriates me. If our taxpayer dollars fund our military, then we should fund them fully, and care for them when they return.That is one charity I wish did not need to exist.

      (And I apologize for my prior lengthy rant.)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for coming by with your comments. Though your response is long that’s okay because discussion is important and I'll try to respond to your points.

      I’ve reviewed my hub and do not think I’ve communicated that the government is 100% at fault. If that’s the way it has come across I apologize. What I do think is that the government has come to what it has because people have allowed it to by not being more involved.

      I tried to point out the abject failure of the government to provide true help to needy and homeless people on any fundamental level. Relief has been provided to some via the government’s (taxpayers) help, and some of those people have gone forward to improve themselves and their lives with that help, but far too many have only become more dependent, as in the example you provided.

      Nearly everyone can point to more than one similar example that they know of personally, either in their families or in their communities. The system is rife with failure that allows generations of people in such examples to continue their behavior while it reduces the benefits of those who worked and were forced to pay into the system.

      There is not enough time or space here to discuss the many other ways the government failed from the beginning of the welfare system to provide help that has real substance to it, but the situation you deal with personally is an example. It wasn’t technically President Obama who kept you from becoming homeless, it was taxpayers, past, current and now future.

      Please don’t misunderstand. I do not begrudge you the help you were given that kept you from being homeless. I am glad it worked out for you. The point is, you are right, giving it out with one hand and taking it with another is not real help. What is being done with taxpayer’s money by the government (from the top down) is criminal.

      However, one of the main points of my hub is to highlight the fact that there are many non-profit organizations doing a far better job of offering help to the needy and homeless in spite of the fact that government, media, other organized groups, and some private individuals oppose and try to undermine their efforts.

      This fact is not a shot-in-the-dark accusation, but something that the non-profits live with everyday and must deal with through what legal means they have available to them. Christians involved in this kind of work also pray for wisdom, strength, and means to do it as unto the Lord.

      Your comments regarding not being able to do anything to help others in need may be a little shortsighted because you actually have helped by highlighting the topic here with your comment. You are also able to write about organizations that are effectively reaching out to help, thereby encouraging them and encouraging others to do likewise or to in some way be a part of the support system in one of the organizations.

      Writers can voice thought-out solutions to important problems in venues like HubPages if we resist emoting about what we actually know little of. If we step back from how we feel about an issue and go on some truly objective fact-finding missions the writing can inspire others to find useful solutions to problems and that’s doing a lot to help.

      That a lack of personal responsibility is a primary cause of many people’s circumstances is something you and I definitely agree on, and I think many other people realize that truth. That lack is just another reason that offered help needs to be given on an individual basis with a tremendous amount of accountability for everyone involved, something we see less and less of in our current political climate.

      While I am confident that there are answers for much of this tangled problem, I have my doubts about whether the answers will be embraced by those who need them most. That, however, does not mean that we do not need to appropriately reach out and try to help where we can. Most of us can do something to help if we are willing to look the problems square in the eye and face them for what they really are.

      Thanks again for stopping by and enlarging the discussion on this topic.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      You make some good points, but I do not agree 100%. I do not think that it is all the government's fault; to be sure, there is blame there as well, but those in such dire straits must also take personal responsibility for the cause-and-effect factor of their choices.

      There is abuse and fraud in the welfare system, but it is not as widespread as the media would have us believe. In fact, there is more abuse and fraud in the halls of congress, as they work more to the benefit of huge corporations rather than the people whom they supposedly represent.

      That said, I do personally know a young woman who is part of the abuse problem. She has 2 children, one of whom is my husband's grand-nephew. This poor little boy is left here and there with whomever is handy, so his mother can go to the casinos and lose all her money, then complain to the child's father that they need to buy him new clothes or what have you, as she is broke--she does not spend the child support money on that child. She has another child (a girl) by a different man, and she is similarly treated. The little boy has no stability, acts out, and she has had him declared 'Hyperactive' and gives him drugs so she can control him. There are umpteen men in and out of her house all the time; she gets AFDC, but is always broke, and the kids don't get food. She sees those children only as a meal ticket, and wants to have another child so her allotment will increase. THAT is one failure of the welfare system--in effect rewarding irresponsible persons such as her for popping out kids--they should pay for two children, max, and after that, it's your problem, or you could choose to get yourself 'fixed' if you can't afford more.

      My husband and I worked and contributed into his disability and my social security--those are not "entitlements" in the sense that the right-wing congress uses the term. They are savings accounts, and it is not our fault that the government has "borrowed" (stolen!) from those funds over the years. If anyone is getting "entitlements," it is those self-same members of congress who are not earning and do not deserve their obscene salaries and perks.

      Because disability and social security payments are so small, we nearly lost our home. Thanks to President Obama, we were able to get a mortgage modification, and avoid becoming homeless ourselves. We do get food stamps, and believe me, it's no big handout. We are entitled to a whopping $52 a month. Try to buy healthy food with that! You cannot. Everything that is inexpensive is also not on my husband's medically-required sodium-free diet. True, it's not supposed to buy your entire month's worth of food, it's a "supplement," but it doesn't supplement much. We got our "COLA" increases in our social security and disability payments--a whole whopping $15 between us, so they chopped our food stamps from the previous $62 down to the current $52. So, in effect, we only got a $5 raise; they give it out with one hand, and take it away with the other.

      As far as helping the homeless and the addicted goes, you can only help those who wish to be helped. The corollary is the saying of "you can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink."

      Those who sabotage the attempts to help them have already made their own choices, and in the case of those who cannot/will not live by rules, and damage the facilities designed to help them, then you have to use the "tough love" approach, and boot them out...telling them they are welcome back at any time they are ready to comply. It is too bad that some of these folks die in the street because of their habits, but it is a choice they made, which brings me full circle to my opening statement.

      I am not a Christian, nor any religion for that matter, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel badly for those in dire circumstances--as I've outlined--we're not that far away ourselves. There is nothing I can do to help, however, having neither extra money to donate nor the physical stamina required for other kinds of help. All I can do is feel badly about the situation which, of course, helps no one.

      It is indeed a tangled problem.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Suzanne Day:

      Though I am sorry for the tough times you endured, I thank you for sharing something of your experience here so others can better understand that aspect of what sometimes happens to homeless people. You've pointed out why it is important to work with people who have good experience in working one to one with the homeless if we are going to actively reach out to them.

      What you describe can happen to people who are not technically needy or homeless when there is a stress that goes beyond their imagination. People who are victimized, for instance, can easily reach that feeling of not belonging anywhere anymore. It is a serious state of mind to be in, but family and friends may not be aware of what the person is going through.

      Approaching any of the needs from the perspective of emotions that change so easily or from the perspective of providing monies to be used without discretion is not the help that is needed.

      Thank you again for your response. The complications that make every situation so individual mean that it is important to keep dialogues going if we are to be able to gain an understanding of what lasting solutions will be.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Many homeless people develop emotional issues, and feel that society has abandoned them and that they do not belong to it anymore. Hence some homeless people's inability to rehabilitate - they do not trust the system, like pets that have been abandoned by their owners.

      In this suspended state, attention is no longer paid to obeying the law oe bettering oneself. These people are far too distraught by everything they have been told dissipating into thin air. I was once a homeless person a long time ago and this was my experience. Even being rehabilitated back into society, you can never fully belong or believe in it again.

      Rtalloni, thank you for pointing out some useful conclusions on this important issue. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and voted a useful article and up!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Reaching out to help others often begins when people do imagine what it would mean to be needy. Thanks for coming by.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Can anyone imagine being needy? Of course we can. But I always liked Tuna in a can rather than a handhout

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for coming by and for your feedback here to help keep the discussion highlighted. There are some important aspects to the problems that the needy and homeless face, as well as those reaching out to them, that too many who want to see them helped overlook because of inexperience. The positive outcomes make the effort worth it, but we cannot set everything right for everyone because not everyone wants real help. So appreciate your positive response, thanks again.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Well said. I found my self saying "bravo' ....nailed it...there is so much that could be done if priorities were not confused in our country....I love this land deeply and passionately but do know that we do need to improve in many areas.

      The quote at the opening of this article is so accurate.

      thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts....

      Angels are on the way to you this

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you, anglnwu, both for stopping in and for adding your comments to this discussion. I very much appreciate knowing what others think about this hub, but I am so glad to see notes about how others are reaching out in their communities because that will be a tremendous help those who want to but don't quite know how to do so in their own communities.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours! See you on HP in the New Year (if not before). :) Thank you again for sharing in highlighting the complexities of helping the needy and homeless.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 4 years ago

      I agree that homelessness is a big problem and the question of helping/not helping due to the reasons you've mentioned is complicated. I think discernment is a big part of it. My church has outreach programs to the needy and every Christmas, we collect blankets and warm clothings for them. You've covered the subject well. Rated up.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Peggy W:

      Thank you for sharing about your time in the trenches and posting your experienced opinion on the issue of whether the work could better be done on the local level. Most of us want to help those who are in difficult circumstances but, as you say, a welfare lifestyle is sad business (destructive, actually).

      Thinking through the issues and seeking solutions that work must be undertaken from the perspective of the whole picture, not from just an emotional desire to help others or from a few experiences involving the needy and homeless.

      I'm sure you learned that needy and homeless people can't be stereotyped by those seeking to help them, nor can anything be assumed about their circumstances. Money isn't the answer because there's not enough to fill the bottomless pit of those who take advantage of the system. Education can only be offered -- there are some who choose to ignore what is offered.

      Large and complex issues in the welfare system require that fundamental thinking and behaviors have to change if there is to be real help given.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Nell Rose:

      It easy to imagine how disillusioned she could have become because there isn't enough money anywhere to solve the problems, but bless her heart for getting in the trenches. Those who can stay in the trenches have my highest regard because no aspect of the work is easy. The ministries I know of depend heavily on God's grace to give them the loving perseverance needed and His wisdom to try to sort out the problems and find solutions. Too often, the recipients want only immediate relief, and that is given when possible, but so sad when lasting help is rejected.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      For almost 15 years I worked as a volunteer counselor at an assistance ministry. I totally agree with you that it would be better done on a local level instead of some giant government program from the federal or even state level. People coming for assistance had to be able to document their crisis. We could aid them directly or refer them to agencies that could help. They were not just a number in a system!

      The welfare system was never intended to become a lifestyle which sadly it has for many people.

      So often lack of education keeps people from attaining their life goals. Of course in these times of recession, many other factors come into play as to why people are hurting and can become needy or homeless.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, I remember a few years ago a friend who became part of an organisation to help the homeless, i can't remember the name of it now, but she used to be so darn frustrated at how something so simple could turn into something so complicated, I don't know if she still works for them or not as I haven't seen her for a while, but she was so dissilusioned.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for helping to highlight the issues with your comment.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Perspectives on the Needy and the Homeless is such an eye opener and approached this idea to perfection.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Keeping the issues highlighted from a balanced perspective is important if we are to be able to truly help the needy and/or homeless, either corporately or individually.

      It’s interesting that you are mocked for living in a building, and it is telling.

      Thank you for checking out this hub and for leaving your feedback here.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you, Pamela99, for your visit and comment on issues related to the needy and homeless.

      So appreciate that you shared something about the work of you and your friends. It's important to have a complete picture of both the needs and the efforts to reach out to others in order to seriously consider solutions. As well, sharing what's being done is a motivator for others to get in the trenches with organizations already at work, or possibly to establish new ones. Thank you for all of your feedback to help highlight the topic!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for sharing a little of your experience here, and for writing about the topic in way that offers insight that comes from all of your life experience. Keeping the topic highlighted with ideas for solutions that offer a look at various root problems and which offer real help is important in a society that too often looks at the problem strictly from an emotive perspective. Thanks again for stopping by and leaving your comment! I've meant to wish all commenters here a Merry Christmas--have a lovely time with your family.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This is a marvelous hub and one I have been following since about an hour after you published. Regardless of merit, just keeping the issues real and in front of us is crucial. And here you also have much merit. Thank you.

      Did you know that nowadays it is basically illegal to systematically label and treat someone different because they are in a protected class. You know like Race, Sex, Age, Handicapable, and Religious notions? I tell you it is!

      But did you also know that it is perfectly legal to treat all homeless people the same, and yet different than everyone else? Now tell me that is not crazy. Makes you want to join the ones we call crazy.

      My friends that do not own or live in a building are still my friends. Of course many of them mock me because I am a "normy".

      Somehow we need to knock down the stereotypes that we use for this identifiable group. Did you know that not all "executives" go into an office? And likewise not all people go into a home at night.

      Thanks again friend for a great piece and peace.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Welfare reform is needed because there are so many who abuse the system, and as mentioned in this post, they squander resources that will always be limited (by the very nature/issues of the concerns related to the needy and homeless). Without true accountability the welfare system has continued to feed these individuals' selfishness. That is why I am an advocate of privatizing the programs and putting them on a local level in a way that provides accountability for everyone involved.

      It is not difficult to find private organizations willing to help those who want real help, also mentioned in this post. The topic is complex and disheartening, but depending on the government to solve the problems has proven to be a disaster that is understandably dividing a nation of people who really are willing to help those who want to rise above their unfortunate circumstances.

      One problem anyone or any organization faces with the situation is that there are those who want "help" but no personal accountability. Like the women mentioned above in the store, they have no qualms about taking from others because for them, everyday is Christmas.

      Thank you for coming by and adding to this discussion.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      You adressed the problem of homelessness and all the associated problems very well. I am involved in a woman's club and also a church that does a lot of work for people in need. Both groups contribute food consistently. At church we make 75 gift baskets for Thanksgiving that included $15 gift card for the local grocerty store so the families could purchase a turkey. Now, we are bringing gifts for children of all ages. Many people don't have a lot of money to donate but when a group of people all donate the results are fantastic. We support a home for girls that are homeless also. There are so many need people of all ages, races and so forth. Voted up and sharing

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      We donate our time and energy to helping the homeless in our county. Our church is very active in the community and allows us to help through their programs as well. I love your message and how you encourage others to get on board with helping others. Blessings.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 4 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      I know that there are always individuals who abuse the system, who are looking for a handout, but there are far more who really need what they receive from the welfare system, and often that is not enough to meet their day to day needs.

      In communities across the country the homeless are ostracized and criminalized for being homeless. Individuals who can't find a place to get out of the cold at night are run out of the only places that they can find to lay their heads. These same communities have more compassion on animals left out in the cold than they do people in the same situation. They use the reasoning that animals don't have a choice. What they don't understand that often these people don't have a choice either. They also do not realize that most of these people are not in the position that they are in because of alcohol or drug abuse. Many are there because of mental illness. Many have just had a series of unfortunate events that put them in that position.

      Thanks for your input on this very complex, very disheartening subject.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Minnetonka Twin:

      Thank you for your encouraging comment and for considering this look at the topic important enough to share at this time of year!

      It's been so good to hear from others about their experiences and to see their "big hearts" through their attempts to reach out to help! That is possibly the best response I could've asked for in the comments because it shows that there are many who are willing to help the needy and homeless, no matter how tiresome (or worse) those who are using the system to abdicate their responsibilities become in the process.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for a remarkable and informative hub on homelessness. I have learned quite a bit working in different non-profit organizations that help the homeless. All your points you make are very true. There are some that know nothing else but being on welfare and not getting out of the cycle of poverty. There are many others that have tried everything to get out of the cycle and working hard in programs to make a better life for them and their children. God Bless you for your big heart in this fight. Christians or non-Christians-we are all one family and educating ourselves on these matters can make a huge difference. I am sharing this important hub during this season of hope.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      The incident in the store is still stunning, and it is a display of how people need to speak up about what working to help others is like in some cases. When I posted this I had not thought of how the comments might include examples of others' experiences. I'm so glad you and other commenters have shared something of your own efforts to reach out to the needy and homeless. I hope we'll see more examples posted here, or in other hubs on the topic.

      Thank you for your generous feedback on this hub and for all of your comments. Have a Merry Christmastide with all your family!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      There's nothing like experience for a teacher, is there? Thanks very much for checking out this hub, for adding to the conversation, and most of all for your support of Prison Fellowship and your work in local efforts.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Marvelous and thoughtful essay on the various issues that affect homelessness and those who try to serve and protect others. Very well written and you covered so many important topics.

      When my children were young and still at home I took them with me once a month to Must Ministries in Marietta, GA. Five other ladies from my church and I had committed to feeding everyone at the shelter (50-70 people) dinner one night a month. We did this without church money and we all brought our children with us and although we cooked and washed up, they worked two serving the guests that night.

      When the women and children went home, the husbands arrived to spend the night: washing, drying, and folding load after load of clothes and maintaining safety and order in the shelter. As I look back this was one of the most important things I did for my children. Great essay. Merry Chritmas and Blessings! Theresa Sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Have supported Prison Fellowship for many years. The churches in our town have united with several other organizations to register the homeless those in need. We have found over the years some instances the folks will from place to place working the system. Some of these folks have been working the system for a very long time. Voted up and useful.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Jackie Lynnley:

      You are right, there's no reason anyone in this country should be going hungry, but it isn't just that the welfare system is mismanaged. There are a multitude of issues related to the needy/homeless that should be addressed.

      Perhaps if we continue calling for accountability the right people will get the message and at least address the mismanaged monies, though.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      AliciaC :

      Thank you for coming by and letting me hear from you on this topic. It's a serious matter to mishandle any aspect of trying to help the needy, whether it happens due to abuse and corruption or ignorance and gullibility. We need to work at approaching solutions wisely and I appreciate that you took the time to help highlight that fact.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      There seems to be a crook in everything good of Gods, well counterfeit I guess you'd say but yes we need accountability in everything, everywhere. This country is going broke and to the dogs because of no accountability! With all the money mismanaged and downright stolen in this country no one should go hungry, ever!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      It is both insanity and corruption, I'm afraid. A type of insanity rooted in a desire for power over people, and corruption on every level. The idea that we can help everyone is crazy because that is not possible, and indeed, those who can be helped have complicated situations that require more than what money can buy.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Sadly, your experience is too common. Without accountability governments fail, as well as other organizations. If communities do not demand accountability that sort of thing will continue to happen. Donors like the Christmas tree farm need to demand accountability before giving, as well as private donors. Accountability…shall I say it again? :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Yes, you are right about the problems being in all countries. Accountability for everyone involved is a huge need!

      Thank you for your visit and feedback.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Jackie Lynnley :

      Thank you for stopping by and for adding your comments to this hub. The solutions are not as simple as some seem to think, are they?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very thought provoking hub, RTalloni. Giving help to homeless people should be a simple process, but as you describe, it sometimes becomes complex. Thank you for creating this hub, especially at this time of year.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      What a crazy situation that is! Bureaucracy gone mad - or are they just corrupt? I'm not sure but I think that a lot of back-handers go on in local councils and of course in government, wherever you are.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi RT! I've been an advocate for the homeless and the needy for many years.

      One year the town published an article in the paper pleading with the public that there were not enough funds or donations to sponsor the food bank. So, I stepped up and offered my help. They refused. They only wanted money. They told me if I couldn't give them money, then I was no help to them. I brought them a carload of food donations. They said it wasn't enough. Being from here, I know a lot of people. I called the owner of a mall in town and asked if I could host a bake sale for charity. He said yes. Single-handedly, I set up tables, baked for a week straight, and made over $600 in cash plus 2 car loads of food and toy donations. I brought everything immediately to the town so happy that they could now fund their food bank. A lady in the office told me she had received a call from a woman requesting to know who I was. She said that she wanted to get together with me and possibly do more of these fundraisers. But, the town would not give me her name or number. I never found out who she was.

      Then, a month later when I went to buy my Christmas tree from a local charity that donates all the proceeds to the food bank....they told me that they had previously funded the food bank with money enough for the entire year. They were shocked to learn that the food bank had published an article stating they ran out of money.

      Several weeks ago, I was driving down a road and noticed a lot of expensive cars pulling in to the building where the food bank is located. It appeared that it may have been some kind of town meeting. That night I read online that the food bank was giving out free bags of fresh produce. There was nothing advertising this. All of the people who got free food drove really nice cars. I'm talking about Mercedes, BMW, Acura, Lexus. They looked like town officials. I know that the law here is that someone receiving public assistance cannot own a car worth more than $9,000. These cars were certainly worth more than that.

      So that leads me to say that I have tried to advocate for the needy here. My offers have been refused and rejected. The town officials told me that they deal directly with the problem because they don't want liability between private residents (people trying to help other people). It makes no sense. We have a growing homeless population. It's very sad to see. Now, there are people with pets in the streets. It breaks my heart.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      There is the same problem here in the UK and no doubt around the world where the welfare/benefits structure exists. Many abusers of the system are found out here and prosecuted but many more remain. It is a difficult problem to address. Many who have contributed to the system for years are overlooked for others who 'play' the system dishonestly, or those who've only just arrived - the system allows it!

      Yes, the government has to look at the system and, yes, we have to do our bit too.

      Great hub. Up++ and shared.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Homelessness is something very close to my heart and I will say right up front that giving to a drug addict would be very hard for me to do. As you say, they have money apparently so they should use some of it to survive as there are those who don't and not only that but the government helps drug addicts doesn't it? I certainly have known of at least two personally that get a check either for being alcoholic or addict, I really couldn't say which, but staying as they are is what they do, well until they died from it. Children of course should always come first which no doubt in most cases would include their mothers or parents.

      In my area they have programs to get men back to work and house them and feed them til they get on their feet. It really would be good to have programs available if for no other reason than to see who is willing to work and who is not. Naturally a drug addict would have to get straight first and surely no charity can be taking care of that when their goal is for the homeless.

      I see where the government is really trying to make it hard on many places to even feed the hungry or homeless, and since the poor are not far from being there I would think they would think twice about everything. What a mess everything is getting to be. Great write, thank you. ^


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