Should I Give Him Money?
Advice we can share from our experience:
Should I Give Him Money?
The answer to this question is not an easy "yes" or "no". The decision is up to you.
Regardless of what you decide, know that becoming homeless can be very isolating, discouraging, and embarrassing; remember that we all need the consistent love and encouragement of other human beings to help us make smart choices in our lives. Please show compassion with your response despite your answer.
If you do decide to give, you are giving up control of your money and gifting it to another. You do not get to choose how that person can spend the gift you gave.
While the fear that your money could be used to further an addiction does exist, there are countless people experiencing homelessness that will use that money to satisfy true needs.
If, however, you wish to have more agency over your impact, you can always help in other ways.
What Can I Give Besides Money?
There are numerous ways you can help someone in need. Here are a few ideas of items you can share:
- A gift card to a restaurant
- Carryout food that you can share with them
- A water bottle
- A Granola bar
- A cup of coffee
- Socks, tissues, or other basic needs
- Information or brochures about a nearby shelter like the Orlando Union Rescue Mission
- Coupons to an affordable restaurant
As you give a gift, please be aware that you may not be the only person to offer help. If another Good Samaritan has already purchased them a meal, they have every right to turn your offer down. Appreciate their honesty or recognized that your generosity may not always be valued as you'd expect.
Many people who prefer to give in this way prepare in advance, storing care kits or gift cards in their car.
How Do I Say "No"?
Know that most people who ask for money are used to hearing "no" often. Much worse, they are used to being ignored.
We believe each person is made in the image of God and worthy of love and respect. If you decide to turn down someone's request for money, we encourage you to look them in the eye with compassion as you do so. Often a "Sorry, I can't help today" is enough. While he or she may be disappointed, the decency you showed through that simple acknowledgment will often be much appreciated.
How Can I Direct Someone to the Mission?
Stop by the Mission and pick up business cards of caseworkers who are happy to have their contact information circulated on the streets. Carry a stack of their cards in your briefcase or handbag. If you don’t have any cards, simply print up slips of paper with the Mission’s name and address, along with the name of a contact person. During daylight hours, you might consider accompanying the person to the Mission and personally introduce him or her to the staff. Here are the addresses:
Women, children and families:
O.U.R.M. Family Home
1525 W. Washington St.
Orlando, FL 32805
Contact: Janice Roberson, Family Home Director
O.U.R.M. Men’s Home
410 W. Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801
Contact: Vince Hall, Men’s Home Director
Should I Ever Call the Police?
Treat a homeless person as you would any other. Aggressive behavior or health emergencies usually warrant action from people who can truly help.
If someone seems unwell, take action. Often, passersby get used to seeing the same individuals in out-of-the-way locations like under the end of a bridge or by a fountain in the park, and seldom take time to observe their movement. In these scenarios, be on the lookout. When it’s very cold or very hot, a stationary individual might be on the verge of hypothermia or a heat stroke. Don’t ever hesitate to go over and check on a homeless person. When in doubt regarding someone’s condition, call the police. You might just save his or her life.