Saturday, March 26, 2011

Giving Money to the Homeless

Picture source

I believe it was New Advent that shared this article on Twitter.

The comments were very interesting too.

Should You Give Money to Homeless People?

The homelessness problem appears to be getting out of hand everywhere, including Hawaii.  Paradise is seeing an influx of homeless people from the mainland. 

We are continuously warned that homeless people will use the money we give them for drugs and alcohol. I also remember a now deceased monsignor telling us that may indeed be true. But God will judge us on whether or not we help the homeless we meet and not how they ultimately end up spending the cash we may give them.

I do not see why it is wrong to give cash to the these street people. I am pretty certain that the ones I have become familiar with will not be using the little money we give them, for something illicit. The ones I am familiar with are elderly, or mentally ill or just "down on their luck", to use the old phrase for homelessness. I know the two woman (one is the one I wrote about previously) I sometimes offer to give a little cash to, often tell me that I do not have to give them money. They really need the money but they have their pride too.

One way of supposedly helping the homeless really bothered me when I first moved to Hawaii. People would leave leftover food and a dollar bill in the trash can. "What an inhumane and undignified way of helping your fellow human being" I often remarked. Then it was explained to me that the homeless often look through the trash for something to eat. But still... I think they would far more appreciate the smile and sincere concern that went along with the money than the money itself.  They need to know they are still part of society and not invisible.

But my family will not give money to just anyone. We noticed that those brazen enough to ask for money will never be satisfied with what you give them. For example, a homeless lady once asked us for a dollar to eat. I think we gave her the dollar or maybe a few dollars. She responded "well, can't you give me a 20.00?" That has happened on a few occasions. Those who really need it, don't seem to be able to ask for help. We have to keep our eyes open to those who really need our help.

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