shoany says... While I see where you're coming from, I have a few issues with what you're saying: 1. The organization you're referring to is staffed, has offices and overheads. Assuming it isn't corrupt and skimming and holding multi-million-dollar appreciation nights and galas (and we probably shouldn't assume that it isn't), the money you're giving this organization still gets portioned off quite a bit. Your point about helping on the systemic level is quite valid (provided you are channelling your concern into actually doing so), but I'd look more into local community health centres or the nonprofit down the street, and still, that money isn't guaranteed to reach the person in front of you. Much as a social worker can help him connect to essential services, advocate for fair and affordable housing, counsel him on trauma, etc, he will still need money for a lot of basic needs. 2. You are vastly oversimplifying the needs and situation of every person on the street. That person may actually depend on money from strangers to make rent (being that welfare barely puts a dent in even the lowest affordable housing costs), feed kids, buy food that isn't McDonald's or canned food, get a haircut, or a million other things that everyone needs money for. 3. Even if that person intends to spend some of your money on oxy or crack, it is not in your right to judge that. While addiction can very generally be called "bad", this person may suffer from chronic pain, trauma, mental illnesses, or some combination and short of governments finally realizing that housing and caring for the poor is cheaper than incarcerating them and treating emergency health conditions, self-medicating is the only reasonable way they can continue functioning for another day. This isn't even an unlikely scenario; think how easily someone can go from your (or my) comfy life to homeless, poor and desperate. It isn't always "bad decisions"; you could be a contractor that falls and gets a serious injury, hit by a car, stricken with a mental illness you have no control over, traumatized earlier in life, born into a high-risk environment or social strata, or anything else, and then start sliding from there. You develop an addiction, your income comes to a screeching halt, your loved ones can't or get too tired to support you, bills that were routine become suffocating, and there you are on the street, pain exploding relentlessly in your body/mind, on the other side of the decision, seeing chins turned up and eyes turned away from you and hearing people mutter "Don't give anything to him; he's just gonna use it to get high," to each other. 4. Not a single person in the video (and really, in just about every situation you see on whatever street you're on) speaks to or even looks at the guy. While I wouldn't expect that everyone gives money to folks on the street (I myself have only done it a few times), it frustrates me to hear people insist that nobody should. "He's just going to use it for drugs/booze" is a presumptuous and ignorant statement and mindset. One more thing: if you really care about urban poverty and those suffering from it, the biggest thing (IMO) you can do is vote for politicians/parties who openly and strongly support social services and welfare, then hold them to their promises. I don't make a ton of money, but I am happy to pay higher taxes and lose some luxuries if it means people who need help just to get by get it. Fausticle said: Exactly, a lot of the time giving money on the street is counter productive. It's best to give it to an organization that can make the most use of that money to help people. The majority of people begging on the street are either mentally ill or addicts and they need more then just a couple of bucks to get another fix they need real help from the community.