- Ian Gordon
Where social welfare is provided by the government, people should not give money to beggars.
No-one wants to see beggars on the street. These people need help and there should be organisations, whether public or private, that deal with the problem compassionately and effectively.
If individuals give money to beggars, it perpetuates the practice of begging and does not handle the root problems that need to be addressed.
If someone is concerned about homelessness, they can petition their government representative, or join an organisation that provides shelter. But to had over cash to beggars just means the beggar will be there tomorrow. Also, more often than not, the money is spent on alcohol or drugs, so it is not helpful. Sometimes, a beggar has a hostel place and uses begging for extra money - I've seen it first hand.
So, don't give to beggars, direct them to the relevant organisation so they can get proper, sustained help. If there is inadequate support for destitute people, campain to improve this, but again, don't give cash to street beggars.
As a final point, I've seen parents using their kids to go begging. This is even worse. What a terrible message to give to kids, but people give them money for just holding their hand out and looking sad. In wealthy western countries, it's unnecessary and actually harmful.