Should People Give Money To Panhandlers?

I have written about this before, but it’s been a while.  It’s good to get this information out as much as possible.  This post came about when reading a recent article on another blog about the same subject.

There is even more to consider when deciding whether to give to a panhandler.   Not only are you enabling an addiction, know too that you will be enabling the antisocial behavior that coincides with inebriation.     The majority of crime committed against homeless people by other homeless people happens when they are intoxicated.  Know that when you give money to a panhandler, and he uses that money for alcohol or other drugs, he is much more likely to become belligerent, will start fights with other homeless people, will be more likely to harass non homeless people. And if this person ventures into a homeless shelter in this condition, he is likely to cause problems for the staff working at the shelter. Being that shelters have strict rules against disruptive behavior, that homeless person will be banned from the shelter (anywhere from one day  to his entire life), forcing him to live the rest of his homeless life outside.

You should also know that that the suicide rate among the homeless population is greater than among the non-homeless, and drug usage adds to the depression homeless people feel and thus increases the potential for a homeless person to commit suicide.

Nearly all injuries that homeless people suffer, (every thing from a twisted ankle to a fractured skull) happens most often while they are inebriated.   Also, being drunk or otherwise incapacitated, makes a homeless person more vulnerable to attacks from street predators.  They are easily beaten up and robbed, since they are in no condition to defend themselves.

I disagree with the notion that once you give your money to someone else, that you are no longer responsible for how that money is used.   If you knowingly give money to an addict then you become an accomplice to whatever happens with that person afterwards.   Here in the US, if a bartender or waitress continues to give alcohol to someone who has become inebriated, and that inebriated person goes out and drives their car, resulting in a car accident, that bartender or waitress can be held liable.

I also have a word about surveys of the homeless.  Homeless people, especially homeless people with addiction problems,  are often less than honest when answering questions about their situation.   Without any kind of fact-checking, to verify if the homeless person is being honest, then any “information” gathered should be considered highly suspect.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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