Last week I wrote about a homeless man who asked me for..not change, not $1, but $5, and then got mad that it's impossible for him to make a living out there.
I saw him today, and again, asking for $5. He said, "Anyone got $5 to spare, I need to get some food."
Get some food? With $5?? Come on now! Cost of living around Civic Center Station is not that high. It is lined with 99 cent food options, ultra cheap donut and coffee shops. Even Starbucks has breakfast pastries for $1.35. Not even my lunch costs $5 since I prefer to have a large bowl of soup w/ bread these days instead of full entrees.
I'm sure he has plenty of reasons for asking for $5 instead whatever he can get (hopefully not alcohol and drugs)....but this is just a bit much. This brings me back to the shocking revelation I experienced 2 years ago from volunteering at SF Homeless Connect Day. There I was, trying to do my part to help the homeless, but guess where 99.9% of them immediately headed to as I tried to introduce them to the wide scope of services available from jobs, job training, detox, health services, and a bunch of freebies including games, portable radio, magazines, watches, food and clothes. Where did they want to go? Not jobs, not training, not detox or health but straight to the freebies. Sure, food and clothing are critical items but those are packaged up for them to all take with them....it's not going anywhere. They won't even spend a few seconds to learn more about how to get themselves out of that mess. So much for ending homelessness.
**Apparently I need to clarify here since a reader accused me of being unreasonable. The food and clothing packages are made available to all homeless people at the end of their visits. They're not even remotely interested in spending 2 secs to pick up a flyer on training or detox and immediately demands to go directly to the exit...where the freebies are. Look, I'm not unsympathetic, in fact, I'm anything but. I've volunteered, I've donated, I've helped those with kids and pets especially...but cut me a bit of slack when I'm only sharing a slice of reality here from MY personal experience working at homeless events.***