Survey Details Public’s Beliefs About Poverty
Occasionally I see a person on the side of the road holding a sign asking for money. I am never sure how to react.
Should I stop and give money? Should I direct them to a help organization?
I wonder whether the person is capable of working but chooses to beg for money because it is easier. I wonder if this is a scam artist at work or if their intentions are honorable.
I also realize that sometimes people need help.
According to the findings of a new poll commissioned by the Salvation Army, a lot of people have the same concerns and reactions.
The nonprofit organization asked more than 1,000 Americans about their thoughts of helping people in poverty and whether they have needed financial help themselves.
The survey found that some people are skeptical about those who are poor and ask for money for the basic necessities of food and shelter.
• 49 percent believe that if someone has a strong work ethic they can escape poverty.
• 43 percent believe most people can find work if they really wanted a job.
• 27 percent believe people are poor because they are lazy.
The report also found that:
• 38 percent of respondents had received aid from a charitable group.
• 13 percent had spent at least one night in a shelter or living on the street.
The vast majority of people said that the poor should receive assistance.
• 88 percent believe that people living in poverty deserve a helping hand.
• 75 percent said that helping families who are poor makes it easier for children to eventually break the poverty cycle.
• Fifty-nine percent donated to a charity last year.
The findings from the survey are in a report called "Perceptions of Poverty" on the Salvation Army's website salvatgionarmyusa.org.
The Salvation Army, a faith-based organization (look up its 11 articles of faith) provides housing, food, financial and other assistance for the homeless and impoverished.
Although I am never sure how to help the person holding up the sign on the side of the road, I am comforted that the Salvation Army helps those who are willing to help themselves.