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Old 05.12.2009, 00:56
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Re: Beggars on the streets

I've not run into trouble with anyone right there myself, I do quite often over by SBB though and after being in Chicago (we went downtown and did the tourist stuff) and actually getting hassled by beggars there, I realized how polite the ones are here if you tell them no.
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Old 05.12.2009, 01:45
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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But they're often looking for cigarettes as much as cash. I just start speaking English to them, although that's caught me out a few times when they've responded in excellent English back. Makes me want to shake them and ask why they're begging when they're so fluent in a second language!
Um...because homelessness and lack of education have nothing to do with eachother. You'll be shocked at the number of university educated people living on the streets in London. Very few people in the UK or Switzerland are homeless because they're poor or can't get a job.
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Old 05.12.2009, 02:05
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Um...because homelessness and lack of education have nothing to do with eachother. You'll be shocked at the number of university educated people living on the streets in London. Very few people in the UK or Switzerland are homeless because they're poor or can't get a job.
I know...it has a lot of different reasons. These experiences/my thoughts were in a different economy, when jobs were plentiful and easy to get, though. Homelessness isn't as prevalent here, social systems are far better and people don't get through the cracks unless they're determined to.
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Old 05.12.2009, 02:13
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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I know...it has a lot of different reasons. These experiences/my thoughts were in a different economy, when jobs were plentiful and easy to get, though. Homelessness isn't as prevalent here, social systems are far better and people don't get through the cracks unless they're determined to.
Well it's not so much that they're determined to get through the cracks, it's that normally they're unable to emotionally tolerate what many of us would call "life". That is, getting up in the morning, paying the bills, walking the dog etc. Often it's due to depression from prior abuse or from a nervous breakdown. I think the homeless are some of the most deserving of our care in whichever way they feel they need.
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Old 05.12.2009, 02:18
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Well it's not so much that they're determined to get through the cracks, it's that normally they're unable to emotionally tolerate what many of us would call "life". That is, getting up in the morning, paying the bills, walking the dog etc. Often it's due to depression from prior abuse or from a nervous breakdown. I think the homeless are some of the most deserving of our care in whichever way they feel they need.
Even then, those people here generally get help from what I understand.

Coming from the US and knowing that a good number of the homeless (during good times) were vietnam vets who just couldnt' cope after coming home, I understand what you're saying and agree...

I used to often give them food or take them in the shop to buy some food if they were begging outside of one in the States, so they didn't spend the cash on booze.
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Old 05.12.2009, 02:25
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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I used to often give them food or take them in the shop to buy some food if they were begging outside of one in the States, so they didn't spend the cash on booze.
This reminds me of a program that a friend's sister got involved with while she was at university...

Apparently they got the city to print up some vouchers which folks could buy that would be good for a meal at select restaurants. I thought this was a great idea as I feel like sometimes "having" to go to a soup kitchen only added to the misery.

Being able to go to a restaurant and "pay" without anything being outwardly obvious regarding the nature of payment is something that I think would be important to me if ever I was in such a position.
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Old 05.12.2009, 02:35
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Even then, those people here generally get help from what I understand.

Coming from the US and knowing that a good number of the homeless (during good times) were vietnam vets who just couldnt' cope after coming home, I understand what you're saying and agree...

I used to often give them food or take them in the shop to buy some food if they were begging outside of one in the States, so they didn't spend the cash on booze.
Yeah...I grew up with people saying "so they don't spend the cash on booze" but trust me, when it's -10C at 2 in the morning and you're under a bridge in damp clothing, you'd much rather have a bottle of whiskey than a cheese sandwich. I don't really drink much but if I were in that situation I'd make it my life's mission to get as much of the stuff inside me as I could.
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Old 05.12.2009, 02:47
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Yeah...I grew up with people saying "so they don't spend the cash on booze" but trust me, when it's -10C at 2 in the morning and you're under a bridge in damp clothing, you'd much rather have a bottle of whiskey than a cheese sandwich. I don't really drink much but if I were in that situation I'd make it my life's mission to get as much of the stuff inside me as I could.

Someone who truly knows about physiology please correct me if I am wrong BUT I believe I've heard / read that while whiskey may make you FEEL better it also makes it more likely that you'll suffer adverse physical effects from such severe cold.

So, while your psyche may like the idea of whiskey, the lack of frostbite from seeking solace in Denny's while eating Moons Over My Hammy and enjoying a "bottomless" cup of coffee will do a lot more for you.


We'd have A LOT of homeless in Florida over the winter, when my father worked night shift at one of the hotels, he had an agreement with the 24hr Taco Bell across the street to bill him if anyone he sent over told them that Joe told them go get something to eat.

On the other hand, it is much more common for me to hand out "spare" change if I have it than to say no.
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  #29  
Old 05.12.2009, 08:22
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Re: Beggars on the streets

Alcohol initially makes you feel warmer, but that's just an illusion. Also, as a diuretic, you'll pee away quite a lot of your body heat. If you want to help the homeless - give to charities who specialise in it.

Having said that, I once stopped and chatted to a homeless chap in the UK, near Liverpool Street station. I bought him some food, and sat with him while he ate it. He told me his life story - really sad. Then I asked him why he was begging - he said that he was trying to raise the 20 he needed for the night hostel. I gave him 20. I saw him again a few times later, then he got a council flat.

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... the same woman was fluffing around in a desperate state, ...
I'm surprised she was wasn't arrested.
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  #30  
Old 05.12.2009, 08:46
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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You are in an area where you'll get that. Across from the hospital (the Frauenspital stop on the 36), is a state shooting gallery. I've found that around them, there tend to be a lot of beggars.

I've encountered a lot of them at the tram area at SBB. But they're often looking for cigarettes as much as cash. I just start speaking English to them, although that's caught me out a few times when they've responded in excellent English back. Makes me want to shake them and ask why they're begging when they're so fluent in a second language!
I had the same ecxperience, they normally speak 3-4 languages. Fluently...I have problems with only one, lol.

Also, its funny with the "homeless" too. During the day they hang around the station with their mandatory accessory, a dog, drinking and occasssionally approaching the odd bypasser for money. Then at night time they dissappear. I presume they just go home, get changed, watch tv, have dinner etc.
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Old 05.12.2009, 08:51
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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I just start speaking English to them, although that's caught me out a few times when they've responded in excellent English back. Makes me want to shake them and ask why they're begging when they're so fluent in a second language!
I used to try that too, but I learned pretty quick that Spanish works a lot better. "Lo siento Seor, no comprendo."

Of course, I got caught out once there too, and switched to English, at which point he also switched to English... and then I just told him that I really didn't want to give him money, and told him to f*k off. Sometimes, you just have to be direct.
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Old 05.12.2009, 08:52
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Re: Beggars on the streets

The most annoying ones are those fake disabled people (romanian looking people)
I often see them pretending shaking, etc... then I see them next street having laugh with their thief friends!!!


Once I saw one with no legs, but when it was quieter, he actually "unfolded" his legs from underneath, and a MIRAAACLE!!! he could walk again!!!
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  #33  
Old 05.12.2009, 08:58
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Having said that, I once stopped and chatted to a homeless chap in the UK, near Liverpool Street station. I bought him some food, and sat with him while he ate it. He told me his life story - really sad. Then I asked him why he was begging - he said that he was trying to raise the 20 he needed for the night hostel. I gave him 20. I saw him again a few times later, then he got a council flat.
And really, that's the way you should do it. I've talked to a couple of these people too - in the States, I did it fairly often. You get a much better feel for whether they're really in need, and if they are, you fill an emotional need for companionship, however temporary.

However, I've found that for the most part, the beggars here aren't needy, they're greedy, and it's really burned me on the whole concept of giving out money here.

If someone's asking for money, offer to take them to the nearest sandwich stand (despite Economisto's preference for alcohol ) and buy them something to eat. If they need a train ticket, offer to go buy it with them. I've never had a beggar here take me up on it, so I've long since stopped asking.
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Old 05.12.2009, 09:46
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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If someone's asking for money, offer to take them to the nearest sandwich stand (despite Economisto's preference for alcohol ) and buy them something to eat. If they need a train ticket, offer to go buy it with them. I've never had a beggar here take me up on it, so I've long since stopped asking.
Ha! I don't have a preference for alchohol, they do. And I don't feel like I have to man-manage a human being's life choices simply because I find myself in a position to do so. And yes, as per a previous post, whiskey does make you feel good. Same as the reason why is Egypt they actually subsidise some cigarettes. Because, when you have absolutely nothing, who is anyone to deny you a drink and a smoke. Having said that, it's true alchoholism is rife among the homeless. But denying an alchoholic alchohol encourages recovery with roughly the same prevalence that removing a doughnut from a fat persons hand encourages weight loss.
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Old 05.12.2009, 10:19
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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You are in an area where you'll get that. Across from the hospital (the Frauenspital stop on the 36), is a state shooting gallery. I've found that around them, there tend to be a lot of beggars.

I've encountered a lot of them at the tram area at SBB. But they're often looking for cigarettes as much as cash. I just start speaking English to them, although that's caught me out a few times when they've responded in excellent English back. Makes me want to shake them and ask why they're begging when they're so fluent in a second language!
I do exactly the same thing. But you are right. If they respond in perfect english, it is a bit startling.

I assume by state shooting gallery, you mean heroin/methadone clinic?

We have a problem in Lausanne with a huge group of alcoholics hanging out in the Place du Rippon near the Uni. Then people come and make them sandwiches so that they don't have to go buy food. They don't seem to have trouble with finding money to buy beer as all of them seem to have at least one or two beers each. This wouldn't be so bad if they weren't hanging out right at the entrance to the metro station smoking up the place and littering. It is the filthiest place in Lausanne as far as I can tell.


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Old 05.12.2009, 10:25
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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I used to try that too, but I learned pretty quick that Spanish works a lot better. "Lo siento Seor, no comprendo."

Of course, I got caught out once there too, and switched to English, at which point he also switched to English... and then I just told him that I really didn't want to give him money, and told him to f*k off. Sometimes, you just have to be direct.
Seriously, though, if someone can speak German/French, Spanish, and English then they are too talented to be pan handling unless, of course, they want to. And if that is the case then we aren't obligated to even feel like we need to help. At this point it is a job and not a person fallen on hard times.

I have tried to help these people by offering to buy them lunch/breakfast what have you. Almost none, I.E. one in over twenty years (a small child in India), has ever taken me up on it. I have been "F'd" quite loudly for doing so.

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Old 05.12.2009, 11:32
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I used to try that too, but I learned pretty quick that Spanish works a lot better. "Lo siento Seor, no comprendo."

Of course, I got caught out once there too, and switched to English, at which point he also switched to English... and then I just told him that I really didn't want to give him money, and told him to f*k off. Sometimes, you just have to be direct.
YO tambien lo hago!!!(I do that too) I mean I look hispanic so I wont be caught pretending . Still, I feel a bit uncomfortable, usually I just shake my head no...
I would give them food though, but not money for obvious reasons.
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Old 05.12.2009, 11:35
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Seriously, though, if someone can speak German/French, Spanish, and English then they are too talented to be pan handling unless, of course, they want to. And if that is the case then we aren't obligated to even feel like we need to help. At this point it is a job and not a person fallen on hard times.

I have tried to help these people by offering to buy them lunch/breakfast what have you. Almost none, I.E. one in over twenty years (a small child in India), has ever taken me up on it. I have been "F'd" quite loudly for doing so.

Brian.
I agree, only once in Chile did a kid accept our invitation to lunch, He was so cute... he was asking for money for medicines. We did not think that was true but gave him some money anyways,then after lunch saw him comming out of the pharmacy with a bag of medicines...we were heartbroken so gave him some more
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Old 05.12.2009, 11:53
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Hi Guys,

I started this thread not as a real complaint but more because of true concern. I came from the doctor today and got of tram 11 at the Johaniterbrucke stop (in Basel). I was approached by a decently dressed guy with the famous Entchuldigung! and then he proceeded to ask for money. I played dumb and walked across the road. This is the 5th or 7th time that I was approached by 'beggars' that are most of the times well dressed, the weird thing is that it is always at the Johaniterbrucke stop.
Does this happen in other places in CH? I was apporached is NL a couple of times in Rotterdam, by junkies but I lived there for 6 years, I have been living here for 4 months!!!Oh well, maybe I moved to the wrong area of Basel...but otherwise I honestly love it...

Cheers!

It happens often in many places. I once took a young man and once a young woman to a nearby restaurant for a small snack "Pommes Chips" and a glass of wine. I paid the bill and gave them CHF 5.-- "for the ticket", but realized that they most of all were in need of some acceptance. I once took, in Stadelhofen, an old-looking man who was in reality younger than me, to the nearest restaurant. I paid the wine, but did not give money, but advice, for instance about jobs for him, and to look ahead positively. The man turned from an "all hope lost and everything is evil" person to a vigorous optimist looking forward, and that within half an hour. I hope, he succeeded. Usually however I reply with short refusals ranging from "No" to "I am in dire straits myself" or "I only have 5000 CHF notes with me" .
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Old 05.12.2009, 11:59
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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You are in an area where you'll get that. Across from the hospital (the Frauenspital stop on the 36), is a state shooting gallery. I've found that around them, there tend to be a lot of beggars.

I've encountered a lot of them at the tram area at SBB. But they're often looking for cigarettes as much as cash. I just start speaking English to them, although that's caught me out a few times when they've responded in excellent English back. Makes me want to shake them and ask why they're begging when they're so fluent in a second language!
Having a decent command of some languages is no guarantee about trouble. Neither is education.
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