Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How do you respond to homelessness?

Listen to this NPR story with Patty Stonesifer (formerly of the Gates Foundation) about how she chooses to address homelessness in her community.

Among the ethical questions the story addresses are (and these should be familiar to my fellow classmates!):

should you give to panhandlers? money? food? or both?
want to do when you are confronted with a panhandler?
how does that differ from what you actually do? or, does it?
is it better to look a panhandler in the eye with respect rather than give them money?

Patty Stonesifer explains that she usually does not give to panhandlers. Rather, she chooses to direct her giving to organizations in her community which address problems of homeless as part of a city-wide plan. Compare her response with her daugher's very different giving choice.

What do you think? And how do you answer the questions above?

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