I'll start with a few quotes from articles I found on the web. Many are about/from US/CommonWealth, but, having travelled a lot all over the world (Europe / Americas / Asia), despite being from Europe, I can say I've seen homeless people in almost every country I visited. They all look the same. They are "citizens of a poor world" who won at the "you don't seem to deserve a second chance" lottery. It's far beyond my understanding why we behave like this, no matter who we are, or where we live / come from. But it's a fact.
- Should I give something to them, or not?
this is compounded by that nasty cynical part of us all that wonders whether trying to help might actually make things worse. The Ethics Of
Sadly, all too many people have negative thoughts that go something like this: they are bums who should "get a job." "If they really wanted to work, they would go to job interviews." Or better yet, "I have to work for a living, I sure ain't giving them nothing." Unsheltered
- Is it ok to ignore the homeless?
- Social experiment shows hundreds ignoring 'homeless boy' in New Zealand (The Guardian) and 'Spat on and ignored' - The Guardian
- Due to the constant denial the homeless receive when asking for help, most admit to feeling invisible to the people around them. Poverty is an ugly reality and when confronted with it, many of us choose to look away, not wanting to accept a reality that doesn't align with our own. Why Do People Ignore The Homeless?
- They are not paper people. They are not statistics in a government profile, or just another homeless drug addict, or the "cause you know they're all the same." Phil Wyman
Now, it all boils down to what you think of all this. I've kept this answer as small as possible, but needed to point out the two main questions and dilemna people are facing. Its goal is just to show a couple of opinions and options. Once you read and see where the problem lies, it's easier to pick a choice. Books and articles have been written about this subject. Links are all over the web and can't be gathered here, but I'll add some more, studies if possible.
In this situation, I've always done what my father taught me in this case, in any case. "Be polite. Respect the persons you don't know. Respect start with politeness". So, I always salute them. It can be a smile, a nod, a word. And, even if most of the time they won't answer or acknowledge, at least, you treated them like you treat any human being, with respect.