If Lon Allan had read my column more closely before writing his own column criticizing my editorial about giving money to transients, he might have realized that I wasn’t arguing against helping those down on their luck; I was stating that most transients have very serious substance-abuse problems. Giving them money directly only enables their addictions. My sources were from those who deal with them daily and see the results of their self-destructive habits.
A small percentage of transients don’t have addiction problems, but most do, and people would be astonished at the amount of alcohol and drugs consumed with the unwitting assistance of a sympathetic public. By all means, give to El Camino Homeless Organization and other organizations that provide food and shelter to those hurting, because they (and you) are giving food and shelter, not poison to help them destroy their lives, which is what your money usually buys when you give money on the streets.