Beggars on the street

You can not make minimum wage high enough for someone to live off. This is because the more you raise minimum wage the higher business will raise the cost of their product. When I was young minimum wage was three dollars and some cents. My teenage working son has no more buying power on the current minimum wage then I did as a teenager back in the eighties.

Plus raising minimum wage can cause some business to be less likely to hire extra workers. Which would hurt the poor even more.

Simply because a person is not homeless and has a job does not mean that they have the funds to throw money away.

If I give money to people who are basically practicing theft, then that takes away money from those homeless who need the money.

If I give those who do not need to beg money, then I am rewarding bad behavior, dishonesty and theft. I am teaching those who could work that they do not need to do so and do not need to learn better behavior and thus I am assisting them in staying in a disgraceful position. And what for? So, I can feel good about helping someone who is pretending to be a beggar. In other words, I am able to pat myself on the back for being a nice person, but I am actually not helping those who really need help.

Occasionally, I will help those who beg. Its a tough call. I have no idea how to discern those who need help and those who don’t. I tend to give to the people who look very needy instead of the young and healthy. But again, I could be overlooking the mentally ill. But I don’t have the funds-without taking from my kids- to help everyone that asks.

When I can, I prefer to give to charities. I also try very hard to provide anyone with food that needs it-when I can afford to do so.

Perhaps you have the financial security to give away money without attempting to discern those who need the funds from those who don’t, I do not have this type of money.

deb1 writes:

“If I give those who do not need to beg money, then I am rewarding bad behavior, dishonesty and theft. I am teaching those who could work that they do not need to do so and do not need to learn better behavior and thus I am assisting them in staying in a disgraceful position. And what for? So, I can feel good about helping someone who is pretending to be a beggar. In other words, I am able to pat myself on the back for being a nice person, but I am actually not helping those who really need help.”

No where do I see in the sermon on the mount “blessed are the discerning and tight-fisted for they are preventing the propagation of laziness and sloth”…

You have a made complicated, and nuanced argument justifying not following Jesus’ words: “give to eveyone who begs of you”–good luck with that.

FYI, I am poor by American standards. I rarely have any pocket money when a person asks me for some. I always apologize and tell them that I do not have any money. I often ask them how they are doing. Sometimes I think that this simple kindness and acknowledgement positively affects them more that if I had given them a $100. If the least I can give to a beggar is a smile and my good will then I have given them much more than my judgment and condemnation.

I think you make a very strong case. One poster mentioned extrapolating the Lord’s words, but the Lord was talking to YOU and ME not to some hypothetical government. Charity is a transaction between two people. I like how you point out the interior spiritual struggle of the person giving the money.

I think there is something to be said for casting bread on the water, for making the personal contact as scary as that is.

Do not refuse ANYONE. That precludes us from judging the recipient. It is a radical way of looking at money, a dangerous way of looking at money.

I am thinking about this a lot. None of us have infinite money, some have very little surplus. Elsewhere in scripture the Lord points out the widow who gives from need rather than surplus and this demonstrates I think an element of prudence in affairs of money acknowleged by Jesus (I think). But it also acknowleges the virtue in extreme charity–to give to the point of need.

I’m just rsharing my thoughts. I also used to drink to excess years ago. I was never homeless, but I gotta tell you, I would buy a man a beer if he had the shakes. I say that with no shame at all. If I saw it in his eyes, I’d give him money for a six pack.

It is the cross that draws men to Him and the Holy Spirit converts hearts, not us, but God is love and when we can act in love, then I think in reflecting we can plant seeds. But it is so hard to reflect because my mirror is so tarnished.

Look at this as a opportunity to do a good deed.:slight_smile:

I grew up in an area that wasn’t the suburbs, but also wasn’t the rural country either. My home was across from a corn field. When I turned 12, my mother would take me into the city to help in the kitchen of Mercy Hospice, which was an eye-opening experience for me.

When I graduated from high school I decided to attend university in one of the worst areas of the city since it had the best journalism department in the state and top 10 in the country. (I studied journalism and music) They called this area the Badlands. Although the campus was safe, walk a couple blocks off and your life could be in danger. We had a couple students during the time I was there killed off campus and my brother was held up a couple of times. I fortunately never ran into trouble, but would have to be escorted to the local grade schools when I helped tutor the kids around the area.

Anyway, there were ALWAYS beggars. At first, I thought they were like the women I helped at the Hospice. I was always giving them my money. I learned very quickly who to help and who not to help, though, and realized that many of them were using the money for drugs or alcohol. My friends and I started to offer them food. There were gentlemen and ladies who truly appreciated the food and I was always happy to help them. A couple of times, I did have run-ins with beggars who became very verbally violent with me when I offered them food and didn’t have what they wanted. For instance, a man began to curse at me when I told him all I had was an iced tea and a banana in my dorm room. He didn’t want that, so I told him him sorry, but I couldn’t give him anything but that. Boy, was he ready to punch me.

My last year of college and the two years of living in the city, I lived in a nice part of the city off campus. There were beggars there as well. Some were schizophrenic, some sane, some very violent, some benign, some just lazy, some just down on their luck. Even now, I never give money anymore to these people as I’ve had bad experiences with some, but will offer food to those that appear to truly need help. Also, you get to know the regulars if you’re in the city enough and know which ones are benign and which ones to stay away from, especially if you are a female and by yourself.

Although i believe that this is not the proper forum for solving the health care crisis, i felt it necessary to respond to the ??? posed. i agree that there needs to be a conversion of the population to support the teachings of the Church, we also can not forget our obligation to attempt to right the wrong. We elect individuals who support their backers, which tends to be big money. we have a current minimum wage that working a 40 hour work week provides a salary that brings you under the federal poverty guidelines. GO figure. As a country, we have an obligation to provide for all, both domestic and foreign. Shipping our jobs overseas did nothing but decrease standards in foreign countries, Mexico City has seen a 17% decrease in real wages since NAFTA was passed( Go Clinton). WE can not give up attempting to correct the wrongs. as to heath, all employers should provide a %, one digit , to a fund so as to provide for the govt programs their employees are entitled to. How many people have made $ on companies due to stock purchases, while the rest of us have just paid higher taxes so that these employees of same company can receive medical assistance. many people want to right the wrongs, as long as it does not affect them. i for one will be able to face the Lord; will the others

Somehow I doubt Jesus meant for my kids to go without the basics of life so that I could give to people who probably don’t need it.

]FYI, I am poor by American standards. I rarely have any pocket money when a person asks me for some. I always apologize and tell them that I do not have any money. I often ask them how they are doing. Sometimes I think that this simple kindness and acknowledgement positively affects them more that if I had given them a $100. If the least I can give to a beggar is a smile and my good will then I have given them much more than my judgment and condemnation.

Well, I certainly do the same. I talk to those who look safe enough to do so.

So, you are criticizing people for not doing something that you don’t do either.

Its okay for you to not give money when you don’t have pocket money but not the rest of us. You seem to have glossed over the fact that I, too, have limited funds.

It is better to give money to organizations that actually will help these people get off the street then to blindly give money to individuals whom might be only scamming you. When your funds are limited, as mine are, then you must be very careful that your assistance will actually be of some help to others.

If a person gives to a charity that assists those who are homeless, that person is still giving to beggars, just not directly.

Here is something I’ve seen with my own eyes a few times. It should have jaded me, but I’m still doing it.

You walk by a beggar after going to a nice restaurant and you have some left-overs. He/She asks for some money for food. You tell them that you don’t have any money, which I usually don’t. I don’t like carrying cash in the city. So, you offer them the food that you are carrying in your hand. They take it with tons of thanks, etc. You walk away, but as you walk away you turn around and see the beggar toss it in the trash without even opening it.

I don’t stop because I know there are others who have truly appreciated what I have given them, but it can become frustrating.

When we lived in Spokane years ago, we were often approached by beggars. We tried to help but of course, could not help everyone.

One day, as we were heading toward the store, I saw a family-mom, dad, kids-on the side of the street holding up a sign that said that they had lost their house. I was horrified and my husband and I both agreed that on the return home we would help them even if it meant letting them stay in our home.

Well, they were gone when we returned and I felt horrible all day. I thought and thought about that family so much that my stomach hurt. Later that same night there was a news story on the local news. The same family was profiled. Someone had called the police to them.

The cops offered to take the family to a shelter and help them in whatever they needed. The family confessed that they had a home-and a nicer one then I had according to the news pictures- but they were trying to get money. The news report said that it was a scam.:frowning:

That is difficult to handle. It makes you not want to help people anymore. We used to see it all the time at my university. A group of beggars would be dropped off in a van on the corner of the street and then be picked up again at the end of the day. It makes you wonder what they were actually up to and if they were truly poor. Like I said, I definitely learned who to help and who not to help.

There is this blind woman in my city who plays a recorder on the corner for money. She has been doing it for at least 20 years and everyone knows her. She never asks for anything, just sits there and plays with a little box in front of her. If I have change, I will give her something because she never begs and is doing something for the money even if she does play badly. I used to think she was really poor. My brother, who also lives in the city, knew a fireman who helped her out of her apartment when it was on fire. He said that she had the firemen go back into her apartment and carry these huge duffelbags out. Inside these duffelbags were all the change she ever made. Apparently, it was thousands of dollars worth. She never took it to the bank. I know not all beggars live like this, but I thought it was interesting.

I live rural to a really small town, so we don’t have beggers here. We do have people “down on their luck” though. I try to remember these people on payday and send them some cash or drop it off without them knowing about it. I have been the receiver of the same. I cannot thank those people because I don’t know who they were. When in the “cities”, I do give change to those who ask. I feel I can’t judge them, and I was probably going to “waste” the money anyway. Let them buy what they want with it…food, shelter, booze, cigerettes. When I received money, there was no stipulation on what I bought with it. My only “requirement” for beggers, is that they say the Lord’s prayer with me out loud before I bring out any bills. Otherwise it is just change.The hardest ones, for me, are not the street beggers, it is the professional beggers, ie. schools, civic organizations, cancer groups, etc. For school, I am to buy baked goods, man the stands and then purchase something as well. I’d rather just give the money. Don’t get me wrong, I am not to well off myself, but by praying beforehand, the money seems to stretch “just enough” to get by again. I really, really dislike fundraisers. I’d rather deal with the beggers on the street.

I abide by the rule of compassion and mercy. Never turn them down because i don’t want Jesus to turn me down in the Last Judgement.

I think all of us need to remember that these “beggars” who are not truly needy will one day be judged by Jesus Christ for their actions. I don’t think we have the right to judge who is truly needy or not. I’m sure that in Jesus’ day they had more than their fair share of theives and scammers, too.
Johannah

This is true. It take a special kind of person to be able to engage in this type of work and develop the art of begging. Fundraisers could learn valuable lessons from studying them.

I know there are some out there who are truly needy, who are mentally disabled and can’t do better on their own, but I have not found any of those yet. Someday I hope I do because I have become very jaded by the “professional” beggars.

Most of the real needy ones won’t ask for anything. Or if they do, they’ll ask for real needs. A genuinely pained woman (who over time I got to know) once asked me if I had a place she could stay.

Would it not be better to get them to a shelter?

Problem is that a lot of the shelters have their own problems and don’t always have the resources to assist as is really needed. The aforementioned women claimed to have been seriously abused in a shelter at one time in her life, which supposedly only made a lot of her problems worse.

hello my friends,

it is simple for me. someone asks for help. i help.

Godblessyou.

I usually help beggers.I think its good to give them as much as we can afford, but we shouldnt help the ones who look like alcoholics or drug adddicts because they just want to feed their habits.I live in Dublin and whenever you go into town, you see the beggers everywhere, and most of them really do need help, so I give them as much as I can.

we are obligate to apply the cardinal virtue of prudence in all our decisions and actions, including stewardship of resources and works of mercy. It is entirely a matter of judgement whether is is prudent to have contact with someone who approaches you on the street, and certainly it could be very unwise. Or whether one’s donation will do more good going to an agency dedicated to meeting the needs of such people.

But Jesus does not council prudence. How do you reconcile that with the Master’s injunction “give to everyine who asks of you”?

Sometimes, His advice does not seem prudent: Go sell all you own and follow me.

I’m just asking. You bring up a good point but should prudence bind love?

I never offered them jobs as I don’t have the means to offer things like that, but I’ve had quite a number get really angry when you offer them food or a certain kind of food rather than what they wanted. It can be very jading. But I’ve even seen it in the hospice that my mother would take us to. Most of the women really wanted to get jobs and the sisters at the hospice helped them get those jobs, but there were those who literally preferred to stay homeless. Some have told me and my husband that they don’t want to work under anyone’s rules. Then they have every excuse in the book about why they don’t want to work. If I had never worked or lived in the city, I would not have believed it.

I should be extremely jaded by what I’ve seen. In some ways I have been because I had to become prudent in deciding who to help and who not to help, especially when you’re a woman and you’ve had come across a few very violent ones. If you really want to meet some truly needy and mentally disabled beggars, come to Philadelphia. Although we have a lot of sane beggars, and “professional” beggars" as you called them, we also have many who are mentally disabled. They closed all the institutions down and just threw them out onto the streets. This is nothing to be proud of by any means, but they are one of the reasons why I’ve not totally given up on beggars.

As someone else mentioned, there are problems in shelters. The hospices that I’ve talked about only can handle a small number of people so there is a waiting list. Those who really want to get up off their feet will go to these hospices and help them get jobs as well as help them find a home once they get back on their feet. Once that is done, which is usually within 6-8 months, they have to leave the hospice to open the door to another needy person. 6-8 months is a long time to wait, especially if there are no other places like that around.

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