Giving money to people on the street?

What’s your view on giving money to people on the street? For example, in east downtown in Vancouver you often see and encounter people who ask you for money….hobos, beggars, drug addicts, people who do not have a job….you know what I mean. I often don’t give them money because I believe that it will actually not help them (not in the long run at least). When these people ask you for money and such, or have some sort of begging thing with them, do you give money to them?
Recently, I gave a bit less than a dollar (Canadian currency) of change to someone on the street because I had dropped some coins and they were good enough to call after me. I thought it’d be good to reward them for being nice (and actually said it was because they were nice), and maybe it would help them learn what’s right. Also, it might have been a little dangerous if I had not (I would have felt a bit scared and unsafe). Afterwards, I felt it was a waste of money (as for a high school student from a rather low-income family), BUT that’s not that much of a big deal, what bothered me more was that what I did actually did HARM to the person and people in general.
What would the person do with the money? Buy drugs?
This brings me to the fact/idea that homelessness, drugs, and such still remain as a severe problem. Olympics are great, but there are many problems that has yet to be solved in Vancouver.
What do you think? I’m interested in others’ opinions! Thanks!

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