What Do You Do When Approached By People Living on The Street?

good deeds There is nothing that cuts to the core quicker than seeing young people on the street begging for food or money. It literally breaks my heart. I must admit, there’s also the immediate ‘catch 22’ gut reaction when I come upon those on the street; do I help them or are they scamming people? My heart always tells me to help, as there are no for sures in life and it could easily be one of my family members or even myself, asking for help. There are those that make me regret it when I see them at the same spot, day after day, week after week; scamming people instead of putting out the effort to clean up and seek out resources in place for guidance.

Have you ever thought how hard it must be to actually put yourself into the vulnerable position of having to ask for help? Why would someone do this if it wasn’t for real? Maybe the instant gratification of food/money is enough to sway some to stay on the easy path and continue this lifestyle. If the easy route is the choice, how can one’s conscience allow for this to go on or is it that there becomes an emotional detachment the longer one does this? I would hope that people would do what is right, but then again, when its about basic survival, rules with no direct consequence, go right out the window. On the other hand, maybe a tragedy/crises took place that turned this person (s) life upside down?

There are those who are quick to chastise when helping people in need. This behavior really angers me because its my choice and its not up to anyone else to tell me what I can and can’t do.  This situation definitely puts one into a catch 22;  seeing a person in need on one side and another telling you what to do on the other, with emotions running high. It is obviously up to the person engaged to do whatever they think is necessary or right for them, even if it means being unpopular and telling the chastiser to leave or please be quiet. You have to make a decision on the spot and live with it.

I personally have mixed emotions regarding this topic. I never want to become calloused and lose any kind of empathy I have for anyone in need. I also want to see people ‘try or put out personal effort’ in exchange for people believing in as well as helping them. WE all have to realize that no one can change another person into someone they don’t want to be. The individual involved has to make those decisions and put out the efforts to do so. Keeping this in mind, realize that it is good to help those asking, but to also make note that it can’t go on forever. When you come upon someone in these shoes, maybe a few kind words, along with encouragement to go to such and such (resources in area) place for further assistance and guidance, would be most appropriate.

It is a gut call and we all have to do what we think is right but realize that sometimes, it’s the mere caring of another individual (even if a stranger) that can help turn someone else’s life around. I would definitely say yes to helping and yes to offering some direction, otherwise, the cycle of being lost and homeless may be too difficult to break.  As said before, it could be someone you know and you don’t want to give up on a human life that is well worth saving. I personally believe we should error on the side of caution and giving another human being a chance; it is without a doubt, the correct path to take.


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