How Do We Treat a Homeless Person That Doesn’t Want The “Right Kind Of Help”?
What is the “Right Kind Of Help”?
I came across this thread on Quora.com and found the answers to interesting. What do you think?
Gotta answer the question with a question.
Why would you “help” someone who didn’t request your help?
Imagine someone at a gas station driving a brand new Rolls offering you money because they noticed your 10 year old Honda and thought you looked “down on your luck”. You’d feel condescended. It’s in the approach.
Okay, bad analogy. Maybe you could think of the saying “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. And if that doesnt ring true for you there’s always the harsher “Beggars can’t be choosers”.
A couple of years ago I was on my way into Target with my son. He was 6 at the time. I’m always making sure he sees me “doing the right thing” so to speak. I try to let my ACTIONS teach him rather than words and lectures.
Coming to the entrance on a Sunday morning there’s a heavyset guy sitting on the wall next to the door.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you but do you happen to have some change?”
I ask “Are you hungry?”
“Yeah. Anything would help..”
“Stay right there. I’ll be back in a few.” says I.
I take my boy inside where they of course have a Starbucks (which I normally avoid like the plague) and I get a large coffee and a croissant sandwich with ham and cheese. Explain to my son why we’re doing this. He understands.
I bring it to the guy, and here we go..
“I don’t like cheddar. Do they have Swiss?”
In my head I’m going Really dude? You’re so fuckin lazy that you can’t even go inside and ask them to put the right cheese on? I’ve got to do THAT for you too?!
But I don’t say that. Like I said, I’m a firm believer in leading by example for my son so I hold out my hand and he gives me the sandwich back. I say, “I don’t like cheddar either. But you know what? I haven’t had breakfast yet and I hate to see food go to waste.. so thanks! Enjoy your coffee.” and I started eating it. Screw him. No wonder he was sitting down, it’s impossible to stand when you have balls bigger than an elephant.
What you might not understand is that anyone who has been homeless for any extended period of time knows exactly what they can do about it. Don’t be naive.
Your question has the answer right in the question itself. They know what the right kind of help is, they simply DON’T WANT IT. The REASON is insignificant.
Think about the Jehovah’s witnesses that knock on the door. Do they really believe that you’ve never heard of GOD or JESUS? They just think you’ve gone your entire life never seeing the billboards? Do people ever actually answer the door and say, “Wow! That’s an amazing concept of which I have never heard the likes of before! And you say this guy had a son who was an actual Savior?! This sounds incredible! Please! Come in my house and tell me more about how clueless and lost I’ve been! I sure am lucky you happened to come by”
Of course not. People know where the churches are, they simply choose to either go or not go. The “why” doesn’t matter.
It’s very true that many homeless are in a situation they have very little control of, but by and far it isn’t the majority. Don’t fool yourself.
And if you think it’s somehow your responsibility to offer help to anyone who doesn’t ask you for it, you are no different than the Jehovah at my door.
You really want to help? The salvation army and Volunteers of America are ALWAYS looking for volunteers to help. Get involved. No problem is ever solved with kind thoughts and good intentions. And simply throwing cash at it does the least of all. You have to get your hands dirty. You have to get personally involved at the source.
Go to the place where the homeless who truly don’t want to be homeless anymore go. Put yourself in the path of people looking for help, then you can provide help.
In essence, don’t try to lead the horse to water, instead be at the watering hole when the horse gets really thirsty.
Who decides what “the right kind of help” is exactly?
So many times I’ve seen people decide what homeless people need and/or want, without actually talking to them first. What you think I need when I’m homeless will be completely different to what I think I need.
The only person who knows what I need is me, and you will only find out what it is, is by both asking me, and accepting the fact I know more about my situation and needs than you ever will.
If a homeless person is not interested in the help you’re offering, perhaps you’re offering the wrong kind of help?
I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say, “right kind of help”. I’ve been homeless several times throughout my life and it was never because I wanted to be. There were times when I cried so hard because all I wanted was for someone to be kind enough to buy me a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It is my belief that yes, unfortunately, some people that have been homeless for so long want to remain this way but it’s only because they’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in what society perceives as the “ normal” way to live. Just be kind. Be nice. Treat others the way you want to be treated, no matter what.
Remember there are three types of homeless
1.) Chronic: Those who are there a longer period of time usually older or injured
2.) Transitional: People who stay in for a short time usually younger
3.) Episodic: A combination of younger , mental illness, medical problems, unemployment, abuse problems. People who do not want help are primarily in the category of mental illness
Excuse me, what exactly is “the right kind of help”? YOUR idea of what a person should desire? YOUR idea of what constitutes “normal”? You sound like the kind of assholes who had me illegally locked out from a room because I wouldn’t conform and bow to their PC ideology. People like you need to learn to mind your own damn business and stop interfering where you’re clearly not wanted.
It’s not for us to judge what the right kind of help for someone is, all we can do is offer what’s available and let them choose, you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink.