(Closed) What would you do about this homeless man?

posted 10 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 17
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Can you reach out to social services in your town to see if there is anything they can offer him?

Post # 19
677 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Your feelings about this situation are admirable. It takes courage and kindness to look at someone who is homeless and see the person rather than the situation. I agree with you – this man is not a threat. People who are uncomfortable around him are so because their own fears. To force him to leave is unjust – he’s a customer, no more – no less.


Post # 21
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I work at a homeless shelter so I thank you for being tolerant.

You should definitely call the police if becomes threatening. However, police or mental health professionals won’t take him in unless he proposes an immediate threat to himself or others.

Is there a day shelter you could refer him to? 

I would just focus on reassuring clients who seem uncomfortable. It’s okay to say “yes, he’s odd, but he comes in here all the time and we haven’t had any problems with him here. If he gives you any problems please let me know.” 

Your town might have a homeless outreach program. I would check around the mental health centers and see if they do. Our mental health outreach workers work with homeless people who don’t typically come into mental health center facilities. They probably won’t rush down there if you call and say “we have a homeless man here.” But you never know, he may be a client that they have lost touch with and could help. 

Post # 22
1289 posts
Bumble bee

If he isn’t causing a problem, attacking people, or doing anything illegal, let him be. The guy buys coffee when he can. People are just scared of the unknown and anyone who acts out of the ordinary. I’d continue letting him come in until he actually causes a real problem.

Post # 23
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

This is a hard situation. I feel so bad for homeless people especially in the winter. My cousin currently lives in Chicago and she said they have a huge homeless population. Can you imagine? Living in a car or on the streets in this weather? Thank goodness there are people like you who realize he’s not causing a problem, he’s just a person, down on his luck, he may even have a mental illness. I think as long as he’s not bothering anyone or causing trouble he should be allowed to come into your coffee shop.

I wonder if maybe you can find some homeless shelters in your area to call and ask if they have anyone that could come talk to him. Here in St. Louis we have a few places that help homeless people get back on their feet, but I know many people don’t want to go to these places or can’t. Could be worth a try.

Post # 24
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I think as long as he doesn’t harass anybody then he should be allowed to hang out at the coffee shop. He’s most likely just trying to get out of the cold for awhile.

I’ve encountered a few homeless people. In our brutal deep South summers, they hang out at my favorite chain bookstore because the employees don’t mind if they sleep or read, as long as they don’t bug anyone.

I’ll talk to them, if they strike up a conversation. Several summers ago, I sat outside talking with a homeless man who wanted to tell me his whole life story–WWII vet who’d been homeless on and off for decades. It was heartbreaking to talk to an elderly man who assumed he would die on the streets because nobody cared about him.

Post # 25
6255 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

If he actually makes it a point to BUY something, he’s probably doing better than at least a few people who go there. He’s obviously intelligent enough to understand how these things work (sitting at a restaurant/coffeshop ethically obliges you to buy something), so if he isn’t stinkng up the place or threatening/harming others, I’d let him be.

Post # 26
1267 posts
Bumble bee

It’s nice to see you be able to look at the human side of issues like this – a lot of people can’t get past the fear or uncomfortable feelings that a homeless person can bring about.

If you can contact your local health department they may be able to at least asses him, see if he has food, access to meds and basic healthcare.  Good for you for being so kind 🙂

Post # 27
3048 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Yay! I’m a Social Worker so I love your response to the whole situation. He is probably lonely or bored. He probably goes to a shelter at night, but many shelters don’t offern anything to do during the day. As long as he isn’t violent towards others or “gets too close” to a customer and making them feel uncomfortable that way, then I would say leave him alone. Talk to him like you’ve been doing. If he does “get too close” you could just explain to him how that makes others feel (like you would to a toddler). He probably does have psychiatric problems, but he’s perfectly ok to not be treated for it (and may be why he’s homeless in the first place). So I wouldn’t worry to much about
trying to help him in that way unless he is outwardly suicidal or homicidal. Keep up the good work! Teach your co-workers the same, or at least ask them specific reasons why they’re uncomfortable. It could be rational or irrational. Who knows. I hope your boss lets him stay though! 🙂

Post # 28
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I agree, he sounds relatively harmless, and I think it’s nice that you’re worried about him. How kindhearted you are. Is there any way you can talk to your boss/manager into getting everyone to lighten up? If not, perhaps you can call one of your local homeless shelters to see what they suggest.

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