Do you hesitate when you come across a homeless person begging in the street? Matt Broomfield says you shouldn't. Instead, he writes in an op-ed for the New Statesman, you should "give your cash directly and unconditionally" to those in need—even if you think they'll blow it on booze, even if you're not sure they're "really homeless," and even if they're not actively pressing you for money. That's because "they're not 4" and should be able to spend the money people offer however they please, are obviously suffering in some way if they're out on the street doing this "grueling, soul-destroying work," and shouldn't have to be anyone's "dancing monkey" to receive assistance.
What it comes down to, in Broomfield's view, is that everyone (including addicts) are deserving of basic human dignities such as food, housing, and mental health aid. And, he adds, studies have shown that people who've resorted to begging often don't do so until they feel they have no other recourse: "The rock bottom has already been reached." Broomfield, who lives in the UK, also delves into the complex web the homeless have to navigate to receive government-funded charity benefits, noting these charities' pleas to donate to them instead of directly to the homeless using the tagline "Kindness kills." "Do not believe them," Broomfield writes. "Apathy and austerity kill. Your kindness saves lives." Read his full take here. (Read more homeless stories.)