Compassion fatigue and homelessness in the City
19 December 2016 by cofebirmingham

Compassion fatigue and homelessness in the City

Today, I am running the gauntlet from train station to office armed only with £3 and an apple. Immediately I know that this is foolish.

As soon as I exit Moor Street, there’s a man huddled on the floor with a cardboard sign that begins: ‘Sorry if I offend…’ which kills me. Instinctively I reach for my purse, but remember that giving money to those begging is unhelpful, more often than not [1]. My hand falls onto the apple, which I offer apologetically to the man. He takes it and I walk on.

Five seconds later I am wondering whether even giving an apple is a good idea… Doesn’t this sort of thing perpetuate begging on the streets? Now racked with guilt, I turn back and see the man chomping away at the apple. I can’t exactly request that he returns it. I’m pretty sure that taking food from a homeless person would make me the worst person in the world… I walk on, metaphorically slapping my own wrists.  

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