Why are the poor poor and homeless homeless?

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  • #3871

    Tiffany
    Member

    My friends are always giving a dollar or two to the homeless person on the corner, and they think I’m stingy because I refuse to. I feel that Americans have plenty of opportunity to make something of themselves, and that these people are homeless or poor by choice. I work hard for every dollar I earn, and I give my time and money to the charities I feel deserve it. Why are the poor poor and the homeless homeless? Am I stingy?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Tiffany, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : American Indian/Caucasian, Religion : Baptist, Age : 25, City : Spokane, State : WA Country : United States, Occupation : Military, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #30649

    Viliam
    Member

    In the city where I live, there are a few homeless people asking for money. When I once stopped nearby and tried to estimate the ‘money per minute’ they earned compared to what I make for my work, I was shocked by the result: these guys get more dollars per minute than I do! Since then, I have given them nothing.

    On the other hand, many homeless people are mentally ill or suffer from alcoholism, so maybe even after they get more money than me, they are unable to manage it. Probably they buy some alcohol, get drunk and then lose the rest of money, or someone takes it from them. So I am sorry for those people – but giving them more money is not a solution.

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    Name : Viliam, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 26, City : Bratislava, State : NA Country : Slovakia, Occupation : computer programmer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #23793

    Dan27357
    Participant

    As far as being homeless, life can really throw you a curveball. Unless you’ve got a vast amount of cash stored up in the bank or have relatives that could take you in, you aren’t really that far from the streets. And it’s really hard to get out of it, but not impossible. Try going in for a job interview when you stink, your clothes are tattered and you don’t have an address or a phone number for them. Or when your criminal record is so bad that hardly anyone would hire you, even if you walked in with a suit looking as debonaire as Pierce Brosnan. Still, it is not impossible and people get themselves off the streets all the time. As far as poor families, meaning the bottom-of-the-barrel underclass… well, Horatio Alger is a myth. Upward mobility for them will come very very slowly and over several generations… if it comes at all. Crappy schools and certain social factors perpetuate it. The real victims are the children born into it. They need good food and security just like your kids do.

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    Name : Dan27357, Gender : M, Race : Chicano, Religion : Pentecostal, Age : 24, City : Los Angeles, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #38303

    Beth
    Member

    I agree and I am also one of those people who say no to people who beg.I feel guilty saying no at first but I remind myself that I WORK for the money I have and no one is just putting money in my hand.Where I work there is a lady that comes by every other month selling pies for $10.00 each and she always has a great cause,like she has a friend who’s house burned down and they don’t have anything.I find it hard to believe she knows someone with a tradgedy every other month.I’m convinced this is how she has to decided to make her living!I give to organizations that I know are legitimate and I can know that my donation is being put to good use.Otherwise, like in the situation of the ‘fire’ I ask ‘Could I give some warm clothes or canned food?’ to which I ALWAYS get the response ‘Well he really could use the money more than anything’

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    Name : Beth, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Methodist, Age : 24, City : Greenwood, State : SC Country : United States, Social class : Middle class, 
    #35708

    Senetra28027
    Participant

    I don’t think you’re stingy, but don’t assume that people are poor and/or homeless by choice. Nobody wants to be, either. Statistically, more women and children are homeless than anyone else, and children are the nation’s fastest-growing poor population. A lot of the homeless are veterans. I think it says a lot about our society in general about who is ‘allowed’ to be homeless. Many people work very hard at low-paying jobs, sometimes more than one, to make ends meet. It’s not because they’re lazy or stupid. Bad things happen, people lose their jobs, people get sick. Homelessness can happen for a number of reasons. You never know for what reason that person is standing on the corner begging for money.

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    Name : Senetra28027, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 29, City : Anderson, State : IN Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, 
    #26979

    Ken
    Member

    I volunteered at a homeless shelter for several months, and I learned some surprising things about these people. Many of them choose to be homeless because this is a lifestyle which has no responsibilities and unlimited freedom. Another sad, but true fact, especially in my hometown of Washington DC is that many of the homeless are not really veterans, but may masquarade as such to elicit sympathy from passerby. Oh, and Viliam is totally correct, homeless working a busy corner can easily net upwards of $20 an hour, far more than I ever could working a summer job!

    User Detail :  

    Name : Ken, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Asian, Age : 20, City : Rochester, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, 
    #33825

    JayLa
    Member

    Tiffany, No you are not stingy! You choose to be poor and you choose not to get the proper education you need to be successful. You make your own destiny and you choose the road of either begging or making money. Success comes after hard work and it is the price you get for your determination. So don’t feel bad for not giving money to homeless people. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t. Enjoy your money that you earned. Have a good day!

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    Name : JayLa, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Brazilian, French, Religion : Catholic, Age : 17, City : Philadelphia, State : PA Country : United States, Occupation : High School Student, Education level : Less than High School Diploma, Social class : Upper class, 
    #30561

    Mike
    Participant

    Tiffany: I live in Santa Cruz, CA- a city with a very large homeless population (because of the mild climate and a very liberal city council). You can’t walk three feet without getting hit up for change. When time allows, I will often ask these people what landed them in their situation. Some are Veterans who get limited benefits but cannot apply for further assistance because they are alcoholics and refuse to go sober. Some are obviously mentally ill or unstable and refuse assistance ‘because I ain’t crazy’. Some were in hospitals, but thanks to severe cutbacks way back when Reagan was governor many of these facilities were closed and there just isn’t any room in existing facilities. Some are addicts/alcoholics who refuse to clean up their act and because of this are denied all benefits and cannot get or hold jobs. I’d say of the hundreds I’ve asked over the years, very few are cases of people actually ‘falling through the cracks’ of available resources and have no other choice but to beg. I’d say the main reason these people beg is that the more creative/resourcefull ones are earning about $50-$100 dollars a day tax free- much more than they would earn working behind the counter at McDonald’s. Mention work to them and they go running in the opposite direction. I mentioned to one that the local artichoke and strawberry fields were hiring workers…this guy actually said to me (and I quote), ‘I ain’t doin’ no Mexican work.’ Personally, I never give them money. On occasion, I take them to the grocery store and by them a sandwich. Once a woman asked me for $2.89 so she could by disposable diapers for her baby. I gave her the money, then followed her at a distance for a while to see if she brought the diapers. She walked straight into a liquor store and plunked down $2.89- the exact price of a bottle of Mogen David 20/20.

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    Name : Mike, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 42, City : Ben Lomand, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #23553

    Tim24578
    Participant

    The reasons people are poor and/or homeless are so numerous as to defy counting. People are poor and homeless because things go wrong. A lost job. A lost family. A failed business venture. Bad investment choices. Drugs. Some people are poor because of a lack of education. Some people are poor because their parent(s) were poor and it runs in the family. You can actually have third- and fourth-generation people on welfare, because it’s the life they’re accustomed to.

    If you lose a job or a home, sometimes it is extremely hard to get any of that back. No family to help you get back on your feet. No friends to give you a place to stay until you find a new job. Without an address, most places won’t give you a job. It’s a vicious circle. I doubt there are many people who decided one morning to become homeless and poor. Very few people, if actually given a choice, would choose to be homeless and poor. You must have no idea how embarassing it is to have to ask people for money. True, there are people who do this with no shame, but they’re rare.

    As to giving to the poor on the street, consider these words from Jesus” ‘Who was this man’s neighbor?’ In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus wasn’t concerned about the position of the poor man beaten on the road. He was concerned about who was truly the right kind of person in reacting to his situation. Apply this to yourself. Are you this person’s ‘neighbor?’ If, as a child of God, every person is your neighbor, your brother (either in Christ or through Adam) then give to whomever you can.

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    Name : Tim24578, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 42, City : Fairbanks, State : AK Country : United States, Occupation : Military, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #27667

    Bella23323
    Participant

    I don’t think you’re stingy. I feel the same way about most panhandlers on the street, because most of them look like they should be working. But there’s one guy I don’t mind giving to because he’s severely retarded and in a wheelchair. His limbs are visibly deformed so I don’t think he can work, but I think someone takes care of him because he’s always clean. I give to him on the street. But I believe some of the other people on the street would be best served by shelters, drug rehabs, soup kitchens, mental institutions and other service organizations that are helping them get back into society. I think it’s better to give to the organizations than to facilitate their lifestyles by giving easy handouts on the street.

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    Name : Bella23323, Gender : F, Race : Afro-Caribbean, Age : 30, City : Washington, State : DC Country : United States, 
    #28410

    ashley23518
    Participant

    I feel that some organaztion should set up something to help poor and homeless people get rid of their alocoholism and help them find decent jobs. I refuse to give money to poor and homeless people that live on the street. It’s not that I don’t care for these people it’s just that I do not want to contribute to helping them get more alcohol, drugs or whatever their addicted too.

    User Detail :  

    Name : ashley23518, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 17, City : st. john's, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : high school student, Education level : Less than High School Diploma, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #30769

    Monique-M20336
    Participant

    Just because you’re fortunate enough to earn a living doesn’t mean other people are in the same boat. I think it’s good to help others and not be so selfish, because we all are people and should help one another. I think it is very critical and judgmental of you to assume that anyone who is living on the streets chooses to live that way. You tell me who in their right mind would want to be in the freezing cold when it’s 10 or 15 degress outside, when they can be in a warm, cozy house. Who in their right mind would want to live in a cardboard box when they could sleep in a warm, comfortable bed? Who wants to worry where their next meal is coming from?

    Things happen to people, like the man who is laid off and still has to feed his family and can’t get a job, the mother in an abusive relationship and desperately trying to flee her abuser. Some people have severe mental illnesses, which makes it difficult to function in society. If that was a member of your family, say your mom or somebody, you’d be singing a different tune.

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    Name : Monique-M20336, Gender : F, Religion : Christian, City : Ft. Myers, State : FL Country : United States, 
    #38368

    ACC25026
    Participant

    Do you seriously think people ‘choose’ to sleep on heating grates in the winter and get covered in sweat and dirt in the summer, risking beatings, robbery and police harassment? Do you seriously think people ‘choose’ to live in run down dangerous neighborhoods with rats and roaches and shootings? Frankly, what you think about the poor is a slur and just so much ugly and vicious character assassination. (You say you are Indian. I’m surprised, cousin, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Indian people who didn’t think generosity to poor people, which includes most Indians, is not one of our most important values.)

    It’s easier to blame the victim than to think about the way the economy is deliberately structured to keep some people poor. The Federal Reserve quite openly says it deliberately plans to keep the unemployment rate at 5 percent. That keeps wages down all across the board. Tell me how that 5 percent (plus the additional 25-30 percent who live in poverty) could possibly ‘choose’ to be poor, then?

    Outside of monks who’ve taken a vow of poverty, I doubt anyone has ever ‘chosen’ to be poor or homeless. Most poor people do work, and they work damned hard, far harder than people with money. Many hold down two or even three jobs. In my home town, it’s quite common to have both parents working at minimum-wage jobs, and still have a poor household. Even many homeless people work at jobs that no one else wants, at car washes, as day laborers, etc. Many homeless have mental health problems, or drug or alcohol addictions. Many of the poor, homeless or not, are so trapped in a cycle of despair that they can’t see any way out. That includes some of our own Indian people on the reservations, possibly your own relatives.

    Who you choose to give your money to is your own choice, certainly. But please, don’t be so mean-spirited as to justify your scrooge attitude by attacking people who have, for the most part, done nothing to deserve the state of poverty they are living in. A roll of the dice, and you could easily wind up where they are. We all could.

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    Name : ACC25026, Gender : M, Race : Mexican and American Indian, City : Phoenix, State : AZ Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower class, 
    #27078

    Kristina26250
    Participant

    I believe in helping out the less fortunate only if they want to help themselves. But many of these so-called homeless people, if not just downright scamming others with their ‘plight’ are very lazy. Jobs are hard to find nowadays, that’s true, but there is always a Macdonalds hiring if push comes to shove. People who really want jobs can find them. And if the salary isn’t high enough, then rent a room. Even someone on minimum wage can afford that, usually. Many of the ‘homeless’ people just don’t try hard enough or they are so hooked on drugs they are not capable of trying. It’s pathetic to me. If my brother who is mentally disabled and has cerebral palsy can go to work everyday, then so can anybody else. So, no, you are not being stingy by not giving them that dollar which isn’t going to do anything anyway. If you want to help them, direct them to the nearest fast food place or convenient store that is hiring, but keep your money. Hey, even a dollar is important… for me that’s a day’s worth of bus transportation. Indeed, YOU are the one that ultimately deserves it because you worked for it.

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    Name : Kristina26250, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, Age : 21, City : DC, State : DC Country : United States, Occupation : Transcriber, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #34456

    Craig31878
    Participant

    I relate to what you are saying. I had two jobs, and was working 60 hours a week at $5/hour. I was exhausted, and barely scraping by enough for rent, and food. There were times when I ate popcorn for a week because I didn’t have any food. But I didn’t ask other people for money. I did what I had to do. I would cross through the park on my way to work, where a group of guys hung out in the park all day long, drunk on Lysol and demanding me to give them money. It made me really frustrated. But a friend of mine approached it differently. He would say, ‘What do you want the money for?’ They would usually ask to get something to eat, and he would go into the nearest place and buy them a sandwich or a slice of pizza. If they were looking for booze money, they would just storm off.

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    Name : Craig31878, Gender : M, Age : 39, City : Minneapolis, State : MN Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
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