This from Jamies Big Voice, an excellent blog written b an ex-homeless heroin addict who cleaned up: http://www.jamiesbigvoice.blogspot.com/
When you become homeless it's not really by choice. There doesn't seem any other choice. Things just happen beyond your control. Take the teenager bullied and the one that's abused at home, he or she runs away. It's in that instant they made that decisive move to leave, to get away. There was no thought of the future.
They couldn't see beyond the relief of finally getting away from the life that is, to a life that could be. It's like saying to a thief but didn't you think about the consequences before you committed the crime. What thief does. It's only as the years go by and you are still living with nothing but your wits and believe me when I say you need them. Do they want to live on the streets trying to survive? The answer sadly is, sometimes their life is sometimes better than it was.
After a while you get what they called street wise, you learn to survive. It's then the streets are home. What's the definition of home ( a place where one lives, a place where a family or social unit lives, a place one can call a refuge.) People on the streets have there own social circles they can often been seen in groups after all they are no longer part of society on the whole. Is it true that homeless people are second class citizens? I would have to say yes. The sadness of it all is that this is a way of life to some and it's by our giving the little we do give to the beggars that some people do actually survive like me for instance why I am still here I haven't got a bloody clue but I wouldn't be here if you hadn't given every morning. Yes it did go on drugs to make me something like a normal human being everyday but it also went on food. You helped me survive.
When I am now asked the question would I give? I do, but I speak to the person before I give that way I have an idea what the money is going on. If I think it's going on drugs then I will buy them a sandwich and give then a couple of bob. They might not thank me for it but at least I am helping them survive. For charities and organizations to come out shouting don't give to beggars is alarming in itself. I know this might sound absurd but aren't charities doing the same but only legally?
I don't want to run charities down because some do a fantastic job with the little resources they have. I just wanted to point out that ones legal and ones not but I was merely asking the question why? As the goal of survival is the same. I don't condone drug taking but as I see more and more youngsters on the streets and using drugs. I want to help if this means giving a few bob and a sandwich so be it. Survival is the name of the game on the streets. To get where I am today I needed to survive.
So when you see someone with the words homeless and hungry on a piece of cardboard look at them as a person. Maybe even speak to them you never know they might surprise you.