The homeless

This has been really getting on my t*ts, and this post might be a little too un-pc but I need to know what other arrsers think.

I've been running a little scheme for the last 3 years - If I go into the town centre three times in a row without being asked for money by either a tramp/homeless or someone who "really needs 20p to get home etc" then I donate between £2 and £5 to a homeless charity. In the last three years this has happened TWICE. Therefore the vast majority of the time I get stopped and asked for money. I have no problem with big issue sellers, they're not included, neither are charity workers.

They can be quite forceful here, there's a footbridge that an almost constant stream of people walk over, they have to walk past this person that stays there all day. I would feel sorry for this person - but they do nothing but. I could still have sympathy, depression and social problems perhaps. But they're forcing a dog to live that existence as well. A dog can not choose whether its owner has money to feed it or provide a warm home.

Is there any way to get these people off the streets? Are they as bad as my predjudices seem to have now made them out to be (I didn't have problems til recently), or am I just a stuck up bastard?
Norwich - No significant problem to best of my knowledge.

I also have suffered the same in Reading, Bristol, London (obviously) and on occasion a smaller town
I have seen a bloke begging then get up walk to the multi-story and drive off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Same bloke, more than once!
crabby said:
Norwich - No significant problem to best of my knowledge.

I also have suffered the same in Reading, Bristol, London (obviously) and on occasion a smaller town
Never noticed the begginig problem in Norwich, though seems to be a glut of Big Issue sellers around the centre of town in the shopping area! Everyone seems to be selling it and on a sunny summers day there's one on every corner!! (I don't disaprove as they're trying to get themselves out of the situation they're in and at the rate I'm going I'll be standing next to Wooly's doing it myself!).

Always got pinged by beggers in King's Cross or Waterloo though and that got right on my t*ts as you knew most of them weren't about to buy a coffee (and got quite arrsey if you actually purchased them a brew!).
Sheffield was bad when I lived there. Never gave anything as I was unemployed myself and didn't think buying a bum, Carlsberg Special Brew was the solution even though they did ask for change for a cup of tea. The only doss house took them in late evening and it was 83 sharing a hammock with one blanket. They were booted out in time to catch the first offy opening to top up their Carlsberg levels.

Famously somebody was caught leaving his own home, jumping into his Astra, parking it and changing into his work clothes. As a beggar he reckoned he made 20k a year and said it was the best career move he had ever made. Of course the publicity did hit his income so he's probably doing something worthwhile like waitering and stealing people's credit card details.

There are genuine cases but it's sorting out the wheat from the chaff. I saw how easy it is to get into the poverty trap when I arrived in NI. I had a job to go to but the flat I had arranged in Lisburn fell through. It actually fell through into the flat below so I didn't take it. I went to the council and as I hadn't been born in NI I was told I would have to wait years and was given a list of some hostels. I did find a house to rent in Belfast through an agency but it was only because they were very helpful regarding a large deposit that had to be paid up front.

The deposit was the difference between a park bench and a house and getting people off the streets involves a serious financial outlay at local and governmental levels. If you can have student loans then why not bum loans? It would get people out of the poverty trap. It's the Catch 22 situation of no job so no house so no job or no benefit so no house and so on.

I was actually assaulted in Canada as I had ignored somebody selling the Canadian version of the Big Issue. He thought I was a foreign tourist, which I was but I could swear better in English than he could and I didn't like being manhandled which is why there are still probably copies of the Big Issue floating around in the Calgary breeze and one bum who learnt a serious lesson regarding his sales techniques.
Might be an idea to ask what unit they served in!!

Especially in there are a few ex- squaddies.

(In the UK of course)
lot of beggers are doing to fuel a drug or drink habit better than thieving I guess they see it as "work" same as there giros them being paid. lot of beggers in brighton have been housed either in a hostel or have there own flat but just giving someone a roof over there head does'nt stop them acting like there homeless.
most of the homeless inho need a slightly more caring version of basic you will get up wash, keep your room clean and do something useful with your day. inexchange for 3 squares and pocket money.
trouble is drug drink rehab on average takes 6 to 7 attempt to stick but the goveremnt will fund one go.
alternativly one hire a van a .22 slienced pistol a chainsaw a big roll of binliners some disposable coveralls and a pressure washer homeless problem soloved in 24 hours (thought like that are maybe why I don't work with the homless anymore )


crabby said:
Always got pinged by beggers in King's Cross or Waterloo though and that got right on my t*ts as you knew most of them weren't about to buy a coffee (and got quite arrsey if you actually purchased them a brew!).
A beggar asking for money for food went off on one when I offered him some luncheon vouchers! So then, redeemable for food and booze, but not crack...I wonder what his problem was?
I see a tramp/begger a bit near me with a dog I really pity it getting on now it seems to be looked after and has a blacket to have wrapped rpund it /lie on always make a habit of popping into poundland or werever and buying it a few chews ect no point in giving the fella the money as you ddont know were it's going at least I know the dogs got something to eat.....and he alawys seems happy to get them
WasMe said:
I have seen a bloke begging then get up walk to the multi-story and drive off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Same bloke, more than once!
I know there are some people who make out they are homeless and take advantage of people but then there are genuine people who are ex soldiers etc who really need our help.

There is no way I could not go past someone with out giving them something .(money,food etc )
I once I read this article saying not to give the homeless people any money as you are making the problem worse but what can you do .
There are people who genuinely need help which is WHY when I'm feeling kind and haven't been pestered I give money to a homeless charity. Yet so many are just there and won't help themselves if someone tries to help them.

Doctrine, you generally chat out of your backside and I'd like to know if you do *actually* give something to everyone you walk past (something other than a dose)
I used to do something similar. If someone asked me for the price of a cup of tea or money for somethign to eat I would offer to buy them a cup of tea or somethign to eat..

Sometimes they begger just gave me a load of abuse. That person was a con man or a druggie or drunk. Sometimes they are just very grateful. Once, on Waterloo station, after a dinner night in Camberley at midnight a woman begger took me up on the offer of some food. I have never seen anyone attack a hamburger as ravinously.

There are lots of drug adicts and con men. There are also a lot of people very hard on their luck. A disproportionate proportion are ex squaddies. The best thing you can do is to support a homeless charity. If you make support for the needy conditional on avoiding con merchants then you are a cheapskate..
I used to work in a Central London church which attracted a number of beggars. Amazingly, some of these who were working the Central Line and mainline stations were earning in excess (this was 1992) of £150 a day.

The main problem lies in the fact that some people give money and having done so, feel that they has contributed to the solution. This is not true and in fact for many exacerbates the problem as the money doesn't get used for food, housing or whatever is claimed but alcohol, drugs and other 'problem maintaining' things. The answer as Pteradon says is to offer to buy tea, coffee, food, etc. When this happens many of those who are looking for easy money will tell you where to stick your offering which settles the issue. Others will be happy/grateful for the offer and accept. If they do, remember to grab a few extra bags of sugar as these are handy commodities when you're on the street!

The downside of the 'correct' approach (I use this term after a right royal b*ll*cking I received from my senior minister when I, as a traineee, was caught giving money to a beggar) is that it takes time, means that people have to talk to the beggar and isn't therefore as easy in terms of busyness and convenience as just dropping a few bob.

The upside is that sometimes you will encounter the most amazing stories. One I met was an Oxbridge PhD who'd developed schizophrenia, lost his family, his career and his dignity before finally being 'cured' by medication. He was in his seventies and would often spare me some of his time to talk about a myriad number of things with a lucidity and awareness that I can only long for .

For many, especially those who have served, the stories are sad and the needs immense. But part of that need is not the food or cash but the opportunity to be valued as a human being and to be given the most precious of today's commodities - time - to be valued and talked to rather than ignored or spat at.


There was an old fella (bout 70 odd) who went to Gloucester bus station every night about 7 or 7:30pm. If you were there before, you'd notice lots of rough looking men with tattoos and sick looking junkie women and other sorts who begin to congregate around there - kind of worrying the first time it happens.
Then the old fella turns up and starts handing out sandwichs and biscuits and brings flask of tea etc. They all wait patiently, then swop for whichever sandwich fillings they prefer and sit and talk about rehab, medication, someone who's maybe not there that night due to an OD etc.
Almost surreal but restores some faith in humanity... Not sure if he still does this - last saw him about 3 years ago.

Also watched a very intersting TV series about a shop a bit like Cash Converters. A lot of people (some homeless, some not) would use this place regularly to earn short term cash - only form of credit they could get. The cameracrew followed a various different individuals for a whole series. They would collect junk people didnt want and go to car boots - and sell the big issue. There was an old bearded bloke who would busk in the street for cash and was trying to get pub gigs for extra cash. I found it to be must see TV. So interesting to see things from the other point of view - being walked past etc. Anyone remember the name? I think it was called Skint or something similair.
Most Big Issue sellers are polite.Whilst in Buchanan street,Glasgow,4 or 5 years ago(main shopping street,with major,class stores,pedestrian only precinct)Big issue seller,chatting to friend--"Aye,no bad an that"--BIGISSOO,---bastards(mumbled)BIGISSSOOO(CNUST etc)BIGISSOO(fckuin' bassass)Onyway,Hows it gawin',wee man,etc etc.-Good sales patter! Laugh.
I always buy the Big Issue from the same lad in Aberdeen, nice guy who I see as and when I am in the city when I am home. Asked him once what went wrong and he just remarked that i shouldnt worry about it as there there were people worse off than him. Humbled was the word for that day .. Plus the Big Issue is quite a good read !!
Padre said:
The main problem lies in the fact that some people give money and having done so, feel that they have contributed to the solution.
This is true. Research in some parts of London has revealed that 80% of the money given to beggars ends up in the hands of the nearest crack dealer within the hour.

doctrine - if I did as you suggest and give them all something, it would cost me a day's pay every time I nipped into town and most of it would go to some wannabe 18-yr old rude boy with a Glock and bags of crack under his bike seat.

I'll only stop and chat to the ex-forces blokes, they're fairly easy to spot, you can tell if they're bluffing about being ex-forces and they normally just want to bum a smoke and a drink and tell you how much of a knob they've been.
I once sat down for a few hours on a covered walkway in Waterloo with a homeless guy - I had a home but bugger all else to do that day - and it was heartbreaking. I suppose I found a real one and he wanted my company ten times more than my cash. He said that the worst thing was being ignored. This guy was down on his luck and he couldn't see his way out - it was all you could do not to jump up and point this bloke out to the thousands of suits who all seemed to flow to the other side from us. (I looked like sh*t too since my second last relative had died that night nearby).

The real scandal is that these days you can't tell the good from the scammers. Shame on them for making it so much harder for the people we should all help - the ones we want to help. The real ones will take your food - and if you ever find a real one - give them cash for a drink - they beepin' need it.

Oh and the dog - you get extra cash from social services if you own a dog (hmmm?)

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