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Homelessness: Giving the Unthinkable

'Should we give money or food?'

A homeless person is sitting on the street.
The public just walks by.
The thought process ensues.

The above is a common thing: Many people just don't know how to help the homeless.

Reflect back for a moment about a time when you have been at home reading a book, or watching TV and your best friend who you haven't seen in a week knocks on the door without warning... Reflect on the feelings of joy and happiness you had.

Now cast your mind to a time when you were walking down a street without being in a rush, and you happened to walk by a homeless person. What did you think? What did you do?

As a homeless campaigner, I often get asked "should we give them food or money?" and it's my favourite question, because I always stump them by saying "neither" in a convincing way. I often get a confused face looking back at me then I say "you can give compassion". Most people don't think of this, most people jump to a material.

Humans rely on other humans for relationships—in whatever form it takes. As emotional beings we don't do well having no company or outlet, so we have to take our primitive instinct to its original roots when we think about homelessness.

Earlier, I asked you to think back to a time when your best friend came round unexpectedly and the feelings you had...

I can safely say that the joy and happiness you felt isn't because your friend has maybe bought a bottle of your favourite drink over, it's not because you were destined to make them a cup of tea, it's purely because you love and care about them as a human.

I then asked you what did you do and think when you last walked past a homeless person... Did you put your hand in your pocket and guiltily play with the change in your pocket?

Now I'm not saying don't give homeless people material things because it's personal choice, it's about preference of the individuals (that includes the homeless person). I have given material things to homeless people and I have also walked by, but in equal if not more measure, I have always said hello to the homeless regardless if I haven't been able to stop and be more compassionate. It only takes a 'hello' and you have made everyone's day...

Compassion and love are a base of humanity whilst homelessness is a blight on our society—the first mixed with the second can only make for a better outcome. It worked for me.

Five things you may not know about homelessness - BBC News

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Homelessness: Giving the Unthinkable
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