Are all beggars homeless or are all homeless beggars?

Linda Hall writes

The answer, of course, is no to both.

There are plenty of beggars on our streets who have a home to go to and there are homeless people out there trying their best to pull themselves out of poverty, find a home to live in and earn enough to feed their families.

There are also beggars who use the money they are given to feed themselves, which is what most people giving their cash expect them to do with it.

The major reason for not helping them is being sick of being scammed.  Social workers have already tried to help them in almost all cases, and they are sitting there by choice.  

We all know ours is a kind and generous community and that many people simply can’t go past beggars without handing over some coin.

However, as we have heard in the last few days, some are blatantly working the streets for the sole purpose of raising funds to buy drugs or alcohol to feed their habit.

How do we know the difference? We don’t.

If you give money to beggars, once it’s left your hand it belongs to them and they can do with it what they wish. The giver has no control over that.

A while ago I saw an old bugger sleeping in a bus shelter who was clearly in the grasp of the demon drink.  I walked across the road and bought him a Subway and a Powerade.   It may not have solved his problems, but at least I know it wasn’t going to go on more booze.

But most beggars are unpleasant and confrontational.

From what I am hearing, and have experienced, the people who need the most help are not those being aggressive on the streets.

A young man asked for a handout when I was walking to work a while ago. I may have written about it.

He said: “Have you got some money?” I told him I hadn’t.

He replied: “Yes, you have, you just don’t want to give it”.

I said in my most polite voice: “Why don’t you try and get a job?”

I can’t print his response but suffice to say I was glad it wasn’t dark and I wasn’t alone on the street with him.

Most people don’t like confrontation – being abused in the street is not nice.

There is a bigger problem.  I know of an older lady that keeps getting approached by a woman that promises to drive her home because she looks too tired or too ill.  And the routine is to tell her that she’ll make her a cup of tea, or do a little cleaning while she is there.

It is very upsetting and confrontational and people feel quite isolated.

The people being aggressive are not going to disappear any time soon and, as usual, it’s the bad apples who make it worse for those in genuine need.

As for giving money – it’s yours – do with it what you think best.

Everyone in this country can get off the street if they want to.   They don’t get a single cent.  But the amount of abuse that gets you is simply unacceptable.  Older or more timid people are easily intimidated by this and will cough up just to make them go away.

And they know it.

 

– Hawkes Bay Today


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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