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Should You Give Money to Those Facing Homelessness?

When it comes to helping those facing homelessness, it is common to see people giving money to those in need. However, many say that we should not be giving money to those facing homelessness because they will spend it on drugs rather than something more substantial. There are pros and cons to giving money to those facing homelessness: the money could be well spent on necessities, or continue to trap someone in a cycle of homelessness.

There is no simple answer when it comes to the way we can help others. Giving money to people facing homelessness has pros and cons that mainly depend on the individual’s personal situation. 

There are multiple benefits of giving money to people facing homelessness. Most obviously, they can use that money to find a place to stay for the night. Especially in the colder months, the unhoused need shelter for both safety and comfort. So, giving money can bring these people one step closer to temporary refuge. Additionally, someone can use that money for food, clothes, mental health services, and medication needed to survive. It is important to remember that if someone is at a point where they beg for money, they are likely in a dire financial situation.   

There are many reasons that giving money will not help solve homelessness. Some individuals will use the money for drugs and other harmful substances that will trap them in the endless cycle of homelessness. However, this misconception has gained a lot of traction and is not always the case. These prejudices are harmful—refraining from doing what is helpful because of a false stereotype can leave many without change for a meal or necessary medication. 

Giving money is only a short term solution for a more significant issue. Money is not always enough to solve someone’s problems, although it can help support that individual while they work towards a long-term solution. People might resort to other means, such as giving food, but reasons such as allergies or an abundance of people providing food can lead to a refusal of it.

If you are uncomfortable with giving money directly to individuals, you can resort to other methods of donating. Many organizations and nonprofits collect donations of money, food, clothes, and more, which are then distributed to the homeless. 

Overall, giving any spare change to those facing homelessness is more of a positive thing than a negative one. It is crucial to not allow adverse outcomes to cloud your judgment, as giving money can bring someone facing homelessness one step closer to getting the help that they need to break the cycle. When you give someone a tip, do you think about what they will use it for? Keeping that in mind can help alleviate your worries. Whether someone needs the money for themselves or someone that they care about, we can not assume what exactly someone will do with the money or why exactly they need it. At the very least we can always give back spare change that someone could use more than ourselves, and which is one small step to making a change by giving others hope. 

Sources: 

https://www.careerandrecovery.org/should-we-give-money-to-the-homeless-people/

https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/should-i-give-money-panhandlers

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