Belfast Telegraph

What do you do on streets when someone asks for cash handout?

By Allan Preston

Kevin Malone (40): "It's becoming more of a fixture over here, it shocks me at night-time sometimes when I'm getting the bus and you look in maybe 20 different doorways.

"Giving money is a quick fix, it's human nature, you see someone in need and you hope that if it was you or a family member someone would help them out.

"I've also seen professional begging a lot as a kid, living close to the city centre. These people get picked up in Mercs and Beemers at the end of the night.

"You put two and two together and you ask, is that their need? Cars and designer clothes, should it not be for a roof over their heads?"

Laura Consiglio (31): "I probably just walk on by, to be honest, out of fear. Most homeless people I see are men and as a young girl walking alone I would be a bit scared to stop.

"I wouldn't be against people giving money, but if they're homeless for alcoholism or anything then no I don't think money's going to help anything. I've heard of professional begging but I thought it was all a bit of a myth."

Shauna Page (41): "I helped a man just round the corner last year, we were giving him blankets and a warm hat and everything, when we went back two days later he didn't have any, we were wondering what did he do with everything.

"It does make you suspicious, who's real, who's not? A lot of people prefer to just give tea or coffee."

Sinead Watson (37): "I walk past a man begging every day, what I do is go and buy him food. I also bought him a hat, gloves and a scarf. If I see someone who looks all right to me and they're walking from person to person I probably wouldn't give them money.

"But if I see someone lying down, depressed and dirty I would, I wouldn't be able to walk past them."

David Rea (55): "I'd probably walk on past, to be honest, but I'm conscious of the charities that would make an effort to help people.

"I'd support the charity as opposed to the homeless person on the street because I know the charity are going to do good work with the money I give them.

"I don't know for certain what the individual would do."

Belfast Telegraph


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