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 How to deal with homeless people

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Zombie

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PostSubject: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:53 pm

Hello again, heros and heroins I have returned (temporaroly) For advice. I would like to start off with a story. Not to long ago I started a new job as a security gaurd...for burgerking (I know right? XD ) Now my wonderful town of..well you dont need to know that, has a pretty sizable population of homeless and the unfortionate. Burgerking being dead center of town, alot of them come to BK. They'll come in and rarly they will look to me for money or advice and I'm all for helping people, I'll give them maybe 5 bucks or whatever money I have on me I don't exactly carry money when I work but whatever.

One day I'm at BK, doin my job and this guy is trying to start a conversation with me. Now I'll be the first to tell you I do NOT like homeless people. So hes asking me stupid qestions like whats your faverite color? What kind of music do you listen to? You know, making small talk. Now I'm now my phone trying to keep to myself but still being polite i anwsered his questions and just kinda blew him off. Then he starts asking me some serious shit like, you got a family? I'm like ya everyones got a family. He says we'll my dad wants me in jail, my moms dead my sister wants me in jail, no one in my family is willing to help me. He shows me his wrists and he says you see these scars? I tryed to kill myself twice. I'm homless, I lost my job, my wife left me, she wont let me see my kids, I have nothing left in my life. Now I'm completely blindsided by this whole conversation. No clue what to say or what to do so I just kinda said. You know you seem like a nice guy I'm sure karma is on your side. Your luck will turn around.

After talking to this guy for a good hour and a half he says ya working tomarrow? I said no I'm working monday. I'll come see you monday. Sure enough. I come to work, hes already there. I said to myself Oh god here we go again. I stayed my distance and did not look away from my phone the entire time he was there. Probably should have ateast said hi but I just didn't want to deal with someone elses problems. I can't help him so why hear it.

I am here to tell you that is NOT how you deal with it. You DO NOT ignore it and wait for it to go away becasue the best gift you can give someone is an open ear. I didn't know what to do so i pretty much shoved it under the rug and I am not gunna do that again. So my question to you all is how should i handle these situations? How can i help these people? Preferably not by giving them money, witch i will but i don't wanna go broke in the process. I may not like homeless people but if they need my help damnit I'm going to give it to them. I just don't know how.
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E0N (Inactive)

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:04 pm

Just talk to them like normal people. If you don't want to talk tell them you don't feel like talking. If you want to know how to help somebody specifically, try asking "what can I do to help?" or "how can I help?"

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Midnite Detective

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:17 pm

Yes, treat them like normal people. Don't make a big deal out of it, just show them normal respect and dignity.

If you're uncomfortable with giving personal info, don't give it. Keep it general. Let him do the talking.

If his presence is interfering with your duties just explain that you can't talk now or you need to pay attention to what you're supposed to be doing. Be honest. Be direct.

Are you involved with any cleanup at night? Got any friends there who are?

Years ago I worked fast food in St. Louis. We knew homeless were digging in our dumpsters at night so I and some of the guys on the crew, when we had to throw out extra meat, etc would quickly bag the food items separately and put it all in a big garbage bag so it wouldn't get mixed in the trash. We got around company policy about giving away food and they got something to eat. Maybe you could discretely do something to this effect.
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:21 pm

Don't give personal information, job schedules or a good reason for them to keep bugging you. Make yourself seem boring, and even unappetizing.

If that doesn't work, have peanut butter in your a**crack for the next time you see them. Say you haven't eaten all day, reach back, take a bite, then offer them some. They'll think you're crazy as bat-shit and hopefully never bother you again.
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Jack Shadow

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:22 pm

And generally, giving them cash is not helping them. Supplies and food are a better way to help. Sometimes, they just want an ear to bend.
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E0N (Inactive)

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:23 pm

Leviathan wrote:
Make yourself seem boring, and even unappetizing.

...so that the homeless people don't... eat... you...

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Midnite Detective

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:24 pm

Well yeah being a douchebag might work.
No
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:29 pm

You're right on that, Jack. More often than not, that could only feed some habit. Food usually works best. It keeps them alive, but at the same time makes them think that if they can't get cash out of you, then they'll look for better opportunities if that's highest on their list of wants.

Ask them if they have a job too. Hand them an app and tell them that your store might need some extra help. They'll fill it out in the hopes of gainful employment, or look at it like you just threw up on their shoes. Either way, you're helping them out.
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:30 pm

E0N wrote:
Leviathan wrote:
Make yourself seem boring, and even unappetizing.

...so that the homeless people don't... eat... you...

Laughing

I meant, if they needed interesting conversation. Be uninteresting.
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Zombie

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:56 pm

Midnite Detective wrote:
Years ago I worked fast food in St. Louis. We knew homeless were digging in our dumpsters at night so I and some of the guys on the crew, when we had to throw out extra meat, etc would quickly bag the food items separately and put it all in a big garbage bag so it wouldn't get mixed in the trash. We got around company policy about giving away food and they got something to eat. Maybe you could discretely do something to this effect.

Part of my job is to make sure there not eatting out of the dumpsters so that wouldn't exactly work. Also when I leave they lock the dinnering room but the drive thru is still open so there not throwing away food yet.
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Zombie

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:01 pm

I know none of you live around me but I'm sure there are orgnizations i can refer people to. Has anyone done this? Is something like that well recived? I can see how some people may veiw it as insulting.
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Jack Shadow

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:04 pm

At my day job I have a community resources packet bookmarked on my computer. Whenever someone needs help finding housing, food etc. I print the packet out and give it to them. Check your local community's web site and see if they have something similar.
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Zombie

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:18 pm

Alright I just found the closest homeless shelter witch is about 10 miles away. Now I'm thinking if I put togeather a panflit with directions and bus fair (theres a bus that runs from my town to the big city) hmm... Guess I'll be going on an adventure tomarrow.
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Proteus

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:25 pm

Sounds to me more like a lonely guy, maybe a little off, looking for someone to talk to more than specifically a "homeless problem". I've had several situations at my post of people coming up to me and trying to strike up "buddy buddy" conversations, and I'm not supposed to have any contact with people at all other than to answer questions, so I totally feel you on the awkwardness of the situation. Like the others said I usually try to make myself seem boring or slightly douchy.

If that fails I'll tell them straight up "Sorry, I'm really not allowed to socialize while on duty." Chances are about 50/50 that they'll be completely understanding or take it personally. Either way they'll leave you alone.

As far as the organizations... If they start going into how they are homeless and no one will help like that particular guy was, then yea, that's a total opening to suggest something like that. You should look for cues like that to make the offer. Some people can be very prideful and will be insulted if you suggest a shelter or other such organization without some sort of opening to do so in normal conversation. You might as well be saying "Get a job" or "Get lost" in their mind, even though you are genuinely trying to offer them help.

So to avoid that, go with Eon's suggestion and ask them how you can help them, that starts the conversation on that subject.

EDIT: I like the pamphlet idea.
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Bridges

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:19 pm

You might also talk to some of churches in your area, chances are they've got something low key if there is a homeless problem in your town at all and nothing shows up on the big searches. The police non-emergency line is another good place to find information about available services, particularly if they have a crisis call line (the not worth calling 911 kind of crisis).

Otherwise everyone else has had good advice. I just want to reiterate one thing: don't be more of a dick than your job requires. I always try to remember that if it weren't for a few strokes of good luck and generosity, I'd be right there next to the guy. Honestly, it can happen to anyone.
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The Reverend

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:35 pm

I do homeless outreach , actually did a handout tonight . Just my opinions but I never give them cash , they will spend it on cheap beer . I definately say treat them as people and be compassionate . But many street people are mentally ill and beyond your ability to help . If you feel uncomfortable be stern and order them to walk away . They will leave if they don't they are probibly deranged , you should call the police .

I made 8 sandwitchs for 3$ by clever shopping last week . Its easy and cheap to help but do not risk your job to do good . No job - less ability to do good .
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Hazmat

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:03 am

Zombie wrote:
I'll be the first to tell you I do NOT like homeless people.

You mention this a couple of times. I am not trying to be dense but, what does that even mean?

Its like if I said “well he was a botanist and I could deal with that. But then I found out he was from Oklahoma; and THAT I will not tolerate!” or something similar. I guess I don’t get where you are coming from.
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Equal

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:13 am

Quote :
How to deal with homeless people
Housing.
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Cicada

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:49 pm

I don't feel there's any reason to "not like" homeless people just based on the fact that they are homeless. They're just people - whether they're mentally ill, junkies, meth-heads, alcoholics, or just plain old down on their luck - they're people. I think there's a comfort factor involved, as well as a stigma attached to those living on the streets.

As it has been said before me, money is never a good idea. Booze, drugs - unfortunately, such things are prevalent in street-dwellers. However, what some of these people seem to be just as desperate for is someone to listen to them. Rarely are they given true thought to, listened to, or touched - and these are all things that any person needs for emotional survival.

Don't risk your job, though. And if you're interested in helping, then pointing him in the right direction towards your local services is a great start. Or, you could talk to him outside of work hours, just always meet in public and keep your head on a swivel ( as you would do with anyone you don't know very well).

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Zombie

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:42 pm

Hazmat wrote:
Zombie wrote:
I'll be the first to tell you I do NOT like homeless people.

You mention this a couple of times. I am not trying to be dense but, what does that even mean?

Exactly what it says.

I thank you all for your very helpful advice. Today I took a bus trip to the homeless shelter, got some pamphlits and handed them out to local busnesses around town. I happen to know that there are some homeless people that live along the river and plan to head down there either today or tomarrow to hand some packets i put togeather along with some other things if i have time to hit the store.

The packets I created consist of 1.25$ (bus fair) A pamphlit from the homeless shelter and directions to the homeless shelter. Does anyone have any ideas of other things to add?
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Jack Shadow

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:49 pm

Does your local bus have tokens (instead of handing out actual cash)?
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:51 pm

Subtract the cash fare and add ride vouchers, if they exist in your community. Otherwise you just bought them a Molson Ice or Milwaukee's Best.

Don't forget some protection. As a few here have already stated, they might not like what you're implying and may get violent if you try to get them some help.
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Cicada

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:49 pm

If you hand out packets with cash, there is a good likelihood you'll attract lots of people looking to take advantage.
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Polarman

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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:50 pm

I attended a public meeting on this issue here and the problem we have is not just them loitering around outside the Northmart store or the Tim Hortons Food Court but seeing them build beach shacks all over the place when they get kicked out of the homeless shelter The reason they get kicked out of the shelter is because Someone is comming out of jail and is not allowed to return to his home community most often because he is too dangerous to kids This is often the case with known pedophiles and other people who commit sex crimes against women and children They claim that theese monsters need a place to stay Fine I agree with that much so send them back to their own communities instead of dumping that kind of garbage in my back yard
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PostSubject: Re: How to deal with homeless people   Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:14 am

Alright, let me give you some perspective here. I used to be homeless. My biggest thing when I was homeless was that people treated me like crap, like the gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe. Not because I was a criminal or anything like that, but just because I was homeless. The second I asked anyone for 50 cents, I was ignored, talked down to, laughed at, and trodden on in general. I would have the police called on me just for sitting somewhere. It was like, the second someone found out I was homeless, boom. Their attitude toward me did a complete 180, and I was less than the soap scum on their bathtub.

However! There were a few people that I chanced to meet who treated me like a real person. I say that exactly how it sounds. I swear, their attitudes made me feel like I was Pinocchio, and I had just became real. A woman once bought me a pizza dinner at this place, and SAT DOWN TO TALK TO ME. We had a whale of a time; we laughed, told stories, and it was probably one of the best nights I had had in quite awhile.

Another woman bought me a bus pass, and talked with me for awhile. It was so nice to be treated well. A guy once bought me dinner.

Now, I will be honest, there isn't a whole lot you can really do when someone comes up to you and drops their life story in your lap. You can listen, but that's about it. Some of what they have to say may leave you gobsmacked, but listen and wish them luck with whatever it is. Ask that particular homeless person what THEY need specifically.

Back in the day, you know what I needed big time? Something to keep my clothes dry when it rained. It didn't rain often in San Diego, but it did rain from time to time, and it SUCKED for me. Vaccu-seal bags are perfect for this sort of thing.

Blankets are usually another good thing. Can't count the times another tramp stole my blanketries from whatever hidey ho spot I had them in, and then I had jack diddly. San Diego winters are nothing like Oklahoma winters, but it's all relative. Cold is cold, no matter what the severity.

SOCKS. UNDERWEAR. SOCKS. UNDERWEAR. SOCKS. SOCKS.

Socks.

Underwear.

I used to buy them by the pack back then, and I would wear a pair for a few days and then toss them, grabbing a new pair from the pack. Shoes can also be beneficial, but I understand if that's out of your price range.

If you can get your hands on MREs, I loved those. Portable can openers (military style) was something I would not leave camp without. I could buy a 54 cent can of peaches or beanie weenies and pop that sucker open right there and eat it. Indispensable tool, that little thing. Tarps are good, and cheap. I had a tarp and I used to wrap my blankets up in it if I thought it was going to rain. Saved my blankets from getting moldy more times than I can remember.

Hope this helps.
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