Thanks for the response, Yuelin Ge! I totally agree that giving directly to homeless people, and not supporting shelters and more systemic solutions, is not a long term solution by any means.
But in an ideal world, to me, we would do both, making sure government does more to support shelters as well as volunteering and donating ourselves, but also in the rush to work in the morning or on a drive, giving if you can. It is a short-term, band-aid solution to a homeless person’s problems for the days but it is altogether even more heartless than walking past a homeless person on your daily commute or in the car at a traffic light. The vast majority of us won’t engage and avert eye contact like a homeless person isn’t there, and I do this when I don’t carry cash with me. It isn’t a solution but, to me, a step to the right solution of addressing homelessness on a societal level.