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Thread: The Homeless and Our Response

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    tWebber
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    The Homeless and Our Response

    I have a question for my fellow Christians:

    What do you see as the appropriate response to the homeless?

    I occasionally, mostly when I go to a nearby big city but sometimes I run into it in my hometown, encounter homeless people begging for money (or sleeping out in the open). I sometimes give them money.

    When talking with my family about the homeless, I heard safety concerns and a bit of skepticism about what they would do with my money (i.e. might spend it on drugs or alcohol). That is very true. It is also true that bad things can happen to anyone. So I am a little reluctant to judge people I've never met. At the same time, I am a little hesitant to talk to people I don't know and there is a bit of a safety concern (especially in the big city).

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    tWebber
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    I try to help them. Give them some money maybe get them some coffee. That is what My grandma did when she encountered the homeless in Ireland. I was not a christian then but I knew her faith motivated her.

    I was also called a yuppie by a panhandler. I forgave that guy after I came to faith.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    I have a question for my fellow Christians:

    What do you see as the appropriate response to the homeless?

    I occasionally, mostly when I go to a nearby big city but sometimes I run into it in my hometown, encounter homeless people begging for money (or sleeping out in the open). I sometimes give them money.

    When talking with my family about the homeless, I heard safety concerns and a bit of skepticism about what they would do with my money (i.e. might spend it on drugs or alcohol). That is very true. It is also true that bad things can happen to anyone. So I am a little reluctant to judge people I've never met. At the same time, I am a little hesitant to talk to people I don't know and there is a bit of a safety concern (especially in the big city).
    Offer them a job doing things like mowing the lawn, raking leaves ... (okay, not exactly "big city" things but I'm sure you can come up with stuff) which you'll pay them generously for. This helps separate those wanting help from those looking for a hand out.

    Another thing you can do is buy them some food and the like that way there is much less of a chance that they'll take what you give them and get drugs or alcohol if they are predisposed to do that.

    I'm always still in trouble again

  4. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
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    Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Cow Poke's Avatar
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    The Mayor of Houston, an African American Democrat, says that giving money to panhandlers only makes the situation worse. (Houston has its share of homeless)

    http://www.khou.com/news/local/mayor...orse/328023703

    "Giving money" to poor people is a "feel good" thing for people -- actually engaging them and hearing their story is a whole 'nuther dimension.

    Jesus didn't just hand out money, even though they had a guy with a money bag - he engaged people at the point of their need. I would suggest, if you really care about the homeless, engage them. If you can't do that, what good does 'giving them a little bit of money' do?

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  6. Amen Sparko amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Offer them a job doing things like mowing the lawn, raking leaves ... (okay, not exactly "big city" things but I'm sure you can come up with stuff) which you'll pay them generously for. This helps separate those wanting help from those looking for a hand out.

    Another thing you can do is buy them some food and the like that way there is much less of a chance that they'll take what you give them and get drugs or alcohol if they are predisposed to do that.
    I was thinking fast food restaurant gift card. Much easier to carry around than food. Regarding the other things you suggested I don't live in the local big city and don't own property that I could get people do to odd jobs for, but I think its good advice because you do want to give people the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty. If I did own a business one idea would be to offer jobs to people in those circumstances. I kinda get why businesses don't usually do that--unreliability of people which will impact the profit margin, but at the same time that would be a real practical way of helping people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    The Mayor of Houston, an African American Democrat, says that giving money to panhandlers only makes the situation worse. (Houston has its share of homeless)

    http://www.khou.com/news/local/mayor...orse/328023703

    "Giving money" to poor people is a "feel good" thing for people -- actually engaging them and hearing their story is a whole 'nuther dimension.

    Jesus didn't just hand out money, even though they had a guy with a money bag - he engaged people at the point of their need. I would suggest, if you really care about the homeless, engage them. If you can't do that, what good does 'giving them a little bit of money' do?
    Well, I think Jesus offered something way better than money--healing and redemption, but I get what you mean. I probably do need to come out of my shell more and talk to people. I should look for opportunities to engage with people. I probably can't offer them anything lacking ownership in a business or a property but I think demonstrating that your friendly and that you don't look down on them might be a start.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Offer them a job doing things like mowing the lawn, raking leaves ... (okay, not exactly "big city" things but I'm sure you can come up with stuff) which you'll pay them generously for. This helps separate those wanting help from those looking for a hand out.
    bad idea. You do NOT want to invite strangers over to know where you live. Especially if you are a woman.

    Another thing you can do is buy them some food and the like that way there is much less of a chance that they'll take what you give them and get drugs or alcohol if they are predisposed to do that.
    I work downtown in a large city. There is a park near where I eat lunch sometimes. If I have leftovers, I will take them and give them to someone in the park who looks like they need it. But there are a LOT of scammers in the area too. Some people will actually drive up in nice cars, wearing rags, and get out and start begging. That is how they make a living, by lying and then they go home to their nice house and laugh at all of the gullible people. That is why I usually look for someone who is not trying to hustle but is obviously homeless or in need. Especially beware of sob stories like "I just need enough for bus fare to ..." or "my car broke down and I just need a couple of dollars for gas" and crap like that.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    bad idea. You do NOT want to invite strangers over to know where you live. Especially if you are a woman.
    Yeah that is something to be concerned about, especially in the big city.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I work downtown in a large city. There is a park near where I eat lunch sometimes. If I have leftovers, I will take them and give them to someone in the park who looks like they need it. But there are a LOT of scammers in the area too. Some people will actually drive up in nice cars, wearing rags, and get out and start begging. That is how they make a living, by lying and then they go home to their nice house and laugh at all of the gullible people. That is why I usually look for someone who is not trying to hustle but is obviously homeless or in need. Especially beware of sob stories like "I just need enough for bus fare to ..." or "my car broke down and I just need a couple of dollars for gas" and crap like that.
    I was coming home on public transit and there was a guy walking through asking people for spare change. I didn't do anything and he moved on. Then my brain caught up and I looked at him closer...he was wearing (if I remember correctly) fairly nice clothing and hauling a tote behind him. Seemed suspicious to me.

    Of course I don't want to get scammed by someone. But even if I was scammed, one possible way to look at it is that my heart was in the right place. I don't want people to take advantage of my generosity but I also don't want to overlook something. I want to become better at this sort of thing but there are a lot of considerations to think about. When I think about it, I have a lot of sympathy for people in those circumstances (the genuine ones, not the crooks) but I don't realistically know what I can do to make their situation better. I guess Cow Poke did have a good idea about at least talking to them. Giving money is in some respects is just a band-aid, poverty arises from a multitude of factors.

    Recently I've been studying biblical interpretation and application. It's a lot more difficult then it looks because our cultures are so different. Poverty in a first world nation is different than the poverty in biblical times. Even if we are poor, there are so many things we have: universal education, food banks, welfare, libraries, employment offices, civic peace, human rights, and so on. And for us Christians we also have the blessing of being able to worship freely and express our faith. Our brothers and sisters in Christ elsewhere not only suffer in poverty but face intense persecution.
    Last edited by Paula; 11-09-2016 at 05:45 AM.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Yeah the crooks rely on your guilt to just give them money and walk away. The poor will generally appreciate getting your attention and talking to you. I once met a nice homeless guy who called himself Super Dave. He even told me he was an alcoholic and would probably spend the money on booze. So I said, 'let me buy you lunch instead' and we went to Wendy's and talked a bit while we ate. After that I gave him a few dollars and said, "I hope you don't spend this on booze, but that is up to you" - I also talked to him about Jesus a little while we ate and told him of a nearby shelter, which he said he knew about and went to on occasion (it was run by a Catholic church)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    Well, I think Jesus offered something way better than money--healing and redemption, but I get what you mean. I probably do need to come out of my shell more and talk to people. I should look for opportunities to engage with people. I probably can't offer them anything lacking ownership in a business or a property but I think demonstrating that your friendly and that you don't look down on them might be a start.
    I just saw a documentary a few days ago where a local TV channel followed "the homeless", and found them delivered to their "stations" in a limo, and picked up at end of day... These people actually owned homes, and this was their "job" - the dressed down poor, and bilked people out of money, and moved from city to city with the weather. When confronted, they screamed obscenities at the news crew and got into their limo and drove off.

    When I was a police officer many years ago, I ran the "bunko squad" - we investigated 'confidence games' (from which comes "con man") and found the same thing - many of these "homeless" people work a neighborhood, stopping at churches and local businesses with sob stories, working old people, many of whom are on fixed incomes....

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I just saw a documentary a few days ago where a local TV channel followed "the homeless", and found them delivered to their "stations" in a limo, and picked up at end of day... These people actually owned homes, and this was their "job" - the dressed down poor, and bilked people out of money, and moved from city to city with the weather. When confronted, they screamed obscenities at the news crew and got into their limo and drove off.

    When I was a police officer many years ago, I ran the "bunko squad" - we investigated 'confidence games' (from which comes "con man") and found the same thing - many of these "homeless" people work a neighborhood, stopping at churches and local businesses with sob stories, working old people, many of whom are on fixed incomes....
    That was the case with a small group of panhandlers that stationed themselves at the exists off of Highway 75 in the county that I live in. One of the local stations discovered that they would get dropped off and picked up by a late model Mercedes.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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