A Conversation about the Homeless


Dallas, TX
Dallas, TX
First of all, I look forward to hearing your viewpoints.

I was at the dry cleaners last week and the woman working there pointed out a homeless woman who was sitting outside their store on the curb. She said she was always there and she felt so sorry for her. As I was leaving, I gave the woman a $10 bill and told her that even though she didn't ask I wanted to help her. Her voice sounded so sweet when she thanked me. I just felt so sorry for this poor soul because I'm comfortable and one never knows why someone is on the street.

I was back at the dry cleaners today and the manager was there. We were talking about the gentrification of the neighborhood, and she mentioned the homeless woman. I mentioned I gave her $10 last time I was there. She proceeded to tell me about how she is ruining the sidewalk because she is peeing on herself and sitting in it. (Sorry to be so graphic.) She said someone called the police and said she was drunk, even though she wasn't. The police told the manager there are many facilities for the homeless but some still prefer to live on the street. Then she said, "and that's what I think about that". I almost felt embarrassed that I mentioned I gave her money. :(

I was later talking to my hubby about this. He works for an organization that has shelters for victims of domestic abuse. He confirmed that there ARE options for the homeless but they have regulations like specific hours, no alcohol, etc. so perhaps she just chose not to follow the rules. He also mentioned that it could make the patrons of the store uncomfortable. I do get that. They are running a business.

I still don't regret what I did. I read another thread about how many seniors are now homeless, and it is just so sad. I think so many just consider the homeless a threat or a problem, and no one seems to have come up with a solution for this situation. I just think, "There but for the grace of god go I".

Again, I hope this makes for an interesting discussion.

I agree, don't be embarrassed that you gave the woman money. It was kind of you.

I'm really worried about rental and real estate prices going up. I don't think any of the powers that be care one bit about the working and retired people. It's scary.

The town I live in has homeless. They make them move and they just go elsewhere. I hear the bike trail next to the freeway is a nightmare. They moved them out of the channel behind my work place. Took the trash too. I had a great look of them daily since I feed the feral cats there near the channel edge. Sometimes they would walk through the work place property. I never had any trouble with them. I have heard some people did while out smoking. I have had cat dishes disappear but I have spares in my car.

They clearly are not building housing for people. They are building stand alone houses and apartments to rent. No condo, tiny house or mobile parks going in. Very much needed since recent fires and home destructions.

But no one that can make changes cares and nothing is going to change.
I have volunteered and done some freelance work for an organization that helps homeless children. They have done some amazing work with kids from shelters and group homes. They offer tutoring, mentoring and scholarships hoping to break the cycle of homelessness. Some have already graduated from college. Of course, that doesn't help all the recently displaced middle-aged folks.
I am usually the first to help people out that I see that need help, but some people wreck that for others... I was at a BIG union meeting in Toronto years ago... Every morning I went over to Tim Horton's coffee shop to get my extra large Dark Roast with one cream. There was a guy always out there, and I would put 20 bucks in his can every morning...

On one of the last days of the union conference, I was outside the hotel having a smoke... When a Porsche pulled in, this well-dressed man got out of the car and started walking out of the parking lot of the hotel... Didn't think anything of it, till I was walking into Tim Horton's, and this guy that was coming out of the washroom, caring the same bag he was carrying when he got out of his Porsche, but now he is dressed like a bum...

When I came out of Tim Horton's, I passed him a large coffee with cream and sugar on the side, and said, you know if you sold your car I am sure you would be ok... His reply was to me... it's a tax-free job... he doesn't pay taxes on the money he earns each day... I felt like an idiot...

Also when I worked in Ottawa, Every busy intersection had people all dressed the same, with a sign saying, travelling, need money, God Bless... I stopped giving them money...

I really look now and strike up a conversation before I hand my money over, I do not mind helping others out... But I do NOT like to be taken advantage...
Never regret for helping a homeless person out. Don't condemn them unless you have "walked a mile in their shoes" and if you ever have you wouldn't be condemning them.

Where I live there are plenty of fancy apartments going up where some of the rent is $1,800 - $2,000 Canadian. Always plenty of new houses with 3 car garages and a price tag starting at $500,000 Canadian. Yes, some people talk about helping the homeless but very little, if anything is happening. The solutions seem to be a band-aid type of help.

I believe the situation will only get worse. The trouble is basically that almost all politicians come from the upper middle or the upper, upper class and have no concept of what it means to sleep out on a rainy nights or in the freezing Canadian cold. Some of our leaders fly around the world, giving away money like it was limitless. Back home the ever increasing poor are still poor. Same with climate change; a lot of talk but almost no action. Talk is cheap....... better believe that! Real change takes a real leader. We are all searching for such a person but apparently, they are impossible to find.
When my Huzz was growing up, the best living situation was when he, his mom, his dad (when he decided to show up) and 3 siblings (#4 wasn't on the way yet) were living in a 1-bedroom apartment. The rest of the time, it was them all stuffed into a single bedroom in or the garage of a relative's or friend's house. The worst times were living in their car for about a week each time...in 100 degree weather...and his mom was pregnant one of the times. And it was his dad's fault--he didn't like working for a living, was spoiled rotten by his own dad & couldn't stand anybody telling him what to do; in fact, he ended up in Leavenworth Prison due to going AWOL from the Army in World War 2 because he couldn't stand that drill sergeant telling him what to do.

But his wife and kids were the ones mostly suffering for that. In case you're thinking, "Why didn't his Mom take the kids and leave his Dad? She had nowhere to go. Why didn't she get out and get a job? She never even attended high school let alone graduated; in the area she grew up in, the poor couldn't afford to send their kids to school past 8th grade, the school district was so poor that it couldn't afford to supply books so the kids' parents had to buy 'em. And she did try and *sometimes* succeeded in getting aid but this was in the sticks in the mid-40's through the early 60s so it wasn't as easy or as plentiful as some people think. So the homelessness problem is very complicated. And I agree with @dseag2, There but for the grace of god go I.
I really look now and strike up a conversation before I hand my money over, I do not mind helping others out... But I do NOT like to be taken advantage...
Hope you don't let that slow you down to much, being kind to people always risks some being taken advantage of.

That's on them not you, you are not the fool!
Funny homeless person story.

My buddy who has done very well in life was walking down a sidewalk when an obviously homeless-looking man was walking towards him. In between them a lit half cigarette was smoldering on the ground. As the two of them came closer together, the bum said, "Bah! It's yours. You saw it first."

My buddy immediately went home and showered and shaved! lol! Oh, man I laughed when he related this story to me!
Many of these homeless people are really inconsiderate of others. The woman peeing on the sidewalk is a good example. And they don't seem to want to do anything to help their own circumstance. Many of them don't want to work. They've completely given up on life, or that's how it seems.

I'm all for helping people help themselves. But someone who doesn't want to better their situation and wants to bring others down to their level by exposing them to, in the case above, their urine and stench, I have no empathy. I don't want to have to deal with them when I go out, if I did go out.

What we have is a breakdown of society. The rich are getting richer while the rest of the population falls behind, which is the result of decades of illogical economic policies. Obviously, they're not working, yet people continue to support and tout the "benefits" of those policies without, it seems, the ability to see the effects of those policies on society.
I am involved with a homeless shelter. I just made a donation so that they could install a handicapped shower. I get a weekly newsletter from them and it describes some of the homeless who do not want the rules to apply to them. We live next to a river bottom where there is a large homeless encampment until recently.
The authorities discovered a large number of stolen items of all kinds.
In Portland, where it is a big problem, the city has been sued under the ADA for letting people camp on sidewalks so disabled people cannot walk.
I have no solution for the problem, unfortunately.
I think the homeless need "tough love." Before the usual suspects pile on, let me explain.

Most (not all) homeless people have drug, alcohol or mental illness problems. Sometimes all three. They need food and shelter, but above all they need treatment.

I think people have a right to use public streets, parks and thoroughfares without stepping over bodies, stepping on needles, stepping in human waste. I think local governments have not only the right but the obligation to keep people from sleeping in public places. Tent cities in parks?

It takes money, lots of money, to treat people. Less money to feed and house them. But getting them off the streets saves money -- it cuts down on crime and on costly ER visits, which everybody pays for. Every city has unused buildings that can be converted to decent shelters. They don't have to be LA-style $750,000 per unit apartments for the homeless. I believe Denver and other cities have had success in providing homeless people with modest, one-bedroom apartments. Living conditions in these places must be supervised as well.

The money is available. What's lacking is the political will to deal with the situation.

That said, God bless Dseag and others for their compassion.
There's some sort of "business" going on in the business district near my house. A beige van drops the panhandlers off in the morning and picks them up in the evening.

They hang out on the corners and in the Walmart lot, holding signs or selling flowers. Dangerously, they walk out in traffic and stand on the medians.

At the entrance and exits of the freeway, you'll see the same guys every day. Sometimes they have dogs and usually very nice bicycles. They often leave terrible messes behind.

I have sympathy for the homeless but not for the "professionally" homeless.....
I live where the city limits meet the county limits. People gather at intersections inside the city limits and beg from drivers coming in from the county.

The police post signs asking everyone not to give money, but to donate to a reputable homeless-helping non-profit instead. Maybe that's the better approach.
I live where the city limits meet the county limits. People gather at intersections inside the city limits and beg from drivers coming in from the county.

The police post signs asking everyone not to give money, but to donate to a reputable homeless-helping non-profit instead. Maybe that's the better approach.
Except that a good many of the so-called non profits use 2/3 of the money for admin costs.......
Except that a good many of the so-called non profits use 2/3 of the money for admin costs.......

Charity Watch and other services target those. 25 to 35 percent overhead is supposed to be a good yardstick. It's better than handing ten bucks to a guy on the street and having him use it to buy drugs.