I didn't vote as there are too many variables involved in deciding when you are going to help out a street person.. Ie, if they are aggressive or not, whether I even have change on me at the time, etc.
I live downtown in a city with the nation's highest child poverty rate/murder rate per capita.....
(I live one street over from the street which cites the highest killing rate (primarily domestic vioence or drug fights or parties gone bad)...
Hence its a poor postal code in my city...which lends itself to intense poverty everywhere...Friends who visit from other areas or cities are dumbfounded with people approaching you or laying on the street or in the park sleeping...
To me, I am de-sensitized and unfazed..(though this has to do with a past profession also)..This doesn't mean I am not sympathetic to their plight.
I always answer them when they ask, I never turn my head and keep walking..Having talked to people on the street, they say this is the thing that bothers them most..when they are simply ignored..
I always say "sorry, I don't have any change, buddy"...or if I do, I will give a minimal amount..If I have just eaten out and have a doggy bag with me, I will usually give it to someone..
I am also of the mindset where I don't care where the money is going. I am not their judge and jury..If I lived like that due to substance abuse, bad luck, mental illness, I say that as Mom of Franz said, it gives them their solace for a short period of time.
One can't solve all the worlds problems.
I even love the honest people who have funny signs or signs that say
" need money for booze or drugs"..They are usually quite the characters and if you stop and give them the time of day, you will be a little richer for it..especially when they offer you a huge smile and a funny story..They still maintain their own sense of dignity and that impresses me..
However, its hard seeing a crackhead, for example, ready to sell their souls (whatever they do have left) come up and offer you their bodies for $20..
THis happened to BF just a few days ago in the park.. A young emaciated girl came up and said this..."Anything and everything for $20..." When he said no, she asked if she could "borrow" $20. He said no and added that Crack wasn't worth it..
She said "EXCUSE ME!?? Its for food!"
Sure its for food..One doesn't need $20 for food and it happens to be the exact amount needed for a piece of rock..
I don't judge her lifestyle, but I find it so incredbly saddening.
That is my two bucks anyway