Should You Give Money to the Homeless?

When presented with the opportunity to help out someone who is homeless, what is your go-to option? Do you take out your wallet and offer what you can, or do you opt to get this person in need food? Both possibilities could potentially save lives and are good choices to be made. With one option you are financially boosting a person significantly in need, and with the other, you are feeding someone who maybe hasn't had food in days.

Many people have strong opinions on how they think the homeless should be helped. A big argument is that helping a homeless person in need by donating money to them is not a good idea because the person receiving the money could be spending it on drugs. This idea perpetuates the notion that all homeless people are heavily addicted to drugs and it is dehumanizing and harmful to those who are in genuine need of help. Many people who are homeless prefer to receive cash or monetary donations instead of edible donations because food can be hard to store and can be bought with said monetary donations. Money in general is preferable because it can be used for many things like toiletries and other necessities along with food. 

In general, when you decide to donate or help someone, it should be selfless. When you take the time to help you should not be passing judgment on those you are helping. Not every homeless person is addicted to drugs and giving homeless people food instead of money could be harming more than helping in some situations. You should always ask before donating, and if you would rather just donate food, maybe you should donate canned goods and nonperishables to your local food bank or church where homeless people can receive it when they are in need of it. 

Would you give money to the homeless?

Do you think it is more ethical to give money to the homeless?

If you were homeless would you prefer to receive money or food?


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  • Personally, I have given money to several homeless people and always try not to think negatively. I feel like the stigma behind homeless people being addicts is very harmful. I feel like donating to charities if you don't feel good about giving money directly is a good option, but you shouldn't judge people based on their situation. 

  • I personally have never given money to the homeless directly but I have sent in food or money donations that are for people in need. I think that if you have time in your day you should ask them what they need because maybe they need somehting like clothing and that is something you could pick them up that would get good use and wouldn't be just giving them something that they could use in a bad way. I think that if I was homeless I would want nonperishables and money, but I do not think that I would want drive through food because that goes bad so quickly.

  • I agree that homeless people need help and we can help them. I personally don't really trust what are they going to do with the money so I think that giving money to charity is a better option and can help them as much. I think if I was homeless I would rather have money than food because as they don't have a house, they would have to eat they food right away since they don't have any place where to keep it at. 

  • I don't give money to the homeless when I see them, instead, I give them food. If they look bad, and you can tell by the way they act and look, I might give them 5 dollars. I was in Council Bluffs, and there was a guy with his family, they were all dressed really nicely, and he was just sitting there with a sign that read "no money for food, No money for clothes, please my family is hungry and we have nowhere to go". When looking at the family, the kid was playing on an iPad, the parents had phones, and they were all playing music on a speaker. I understand he may have gotten that beforehand, but he could have pawned some of it if he was really that desperate. 

  • I think that if I were homeless I would prefer money over food because then I would use the money for important things other than food. I could use the money for blankets or a fresh change of clothes. I think that offering money to the homeless is a good idea because we never really know what they are going through. They could’ve lost their job and are having a hard time finding new ones. They could also be soldiers who came back from war with nothing and no one to help them. I think that this narrative that all homeless people are drug addicts just isn’t fair because you never really know what someone is going through. Lastly, I would give money to the homeless unless I can clearly see that they won’t spend that money responsibly.

    • I agree that money could be used for things that are more beneficial to the individual instead of just food. Food can't sanitize your hands, food can't buy you warm clothes, but money can and homeless people are the only ones who know what they need and what is best for them. 

  • I would give money to the homeless, but I llike your idea of donating to food banks because then I know they are getting that food when they truely need it. While not all homeless people are addicted to drugs there are lots that are, stereotypes are only created because people are them. So I might not give them money every time, but I always try to help if I can.

    • I understand that stereotypes could be derived from true instances but I think it's unfair to make quick assumptions about houseless people just because of the situation they are in. If the person is asking for food, definetly if you can you should provide, but if not the best route is to just donate. 

  • I think that giving money to the homeless is a very generous thing to do. I would give money to the homeless. I would hope they spend it on food and clothes. If some people don’t give money to the homeless I wouldn't care because it's your money and you can do what you want to do with it.  

  • I think that giving money to the homeless is very generous. I undertand that most people are skeptical of what they will spend it on and if they are homeless or not. If I were homeless I think I would be grateful to recive anything, money or food. I think it is a good idea to give them stuff you know they will use and need such as food and water and not just money. 

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