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If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Posted by denninmi 8a (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 14:16

Just asking, because I see them from time to time here, in the small urban, poor city I travel through a small portion of on my way to and from work. My area is weird anyway, neighborhoods of multi-million dollar homes on lakes, and a mile away, literally, exists urban decay and all that goes with it, poverty, drugs, crime, homelessness.

So, the hypothetical. Panhandler approaches your car at the light and asks you for money, says they need help.

What do you do? Does it depend on the age, or gender, or appearance of the person?

Would it matter if it were illegal in the community where it happened?

Would a sign saying something like "homeless Iraq War vet" or "Desperate out of work father" make a difference.

Would your faith/beliefs influence your decision.

Would you wonder what they were really doing with the money - feeding kids or buying drugs or alcohol?

Just curious how you all feel. I know my answers, but I'll save them for now.

I did see a woman last night with a "homeless mother needs help" sign, which is why I am posting this.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I don't see panhandlers in my little suburb, but they are everywhere when I am in center city. I walk by them no matter what their signs say or what they ask for. It's not that I am indifferent to the plight of people who need help, but the range of reasons for being on the street are impossible to interpret when one confronts a panhandler. It's not possible to decipher all that, so I look like Heartless Hannah and pass everyone by. Or step over them as the case may be.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I walk past them as well. Our charity donations that my DH and I make address those needs (Salvation Army, Covenant House, First United Church, etc) - especially for the teenagers. I can't do it all.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

We see them from time to time, whether we're in Chicago or Champaign... if they ask for a little help, and we have it to give, we help. That may only constitute a dollar or so, or a handful of change... whatever we can spare.

We know what it's like to not have... what goes around, comes around eventually, and I would hope that if the tables were turned, someone would take a little pity on us in turn.

Illegal or not, people still need... and this is one of those laws that doesn't speak too well to an empathetic society. Yes, I'd absolutely help if I could.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

We have an "anti-begging" ordinance here, but enforcement is pretty subtle and generally results in police moving anyone begging along their way. Complaints are largely from retailers where any store front begging would annoy customers.

A time or two downtown while plugging the meter I've been asked for change for bus fare, both times by teenagers - and both times they actually boarded a bus. On other occasions over my lifetime, I've given a small bill or change to someone begging and never really considered why I responded as opposed to walking by as if they were invisible. I guess I'd prefer to think they need it - and for what doesn't enter into the equation. Not a matter of religious principles, just something human.

DC was another story - everyone's favorite habitué staked out a spot at the mouth of the Farragut North Metro. I never gave him money, but there were often sample product or McDonald's coffee coupon distributors in the same vicinity. I'd give him those to his usual displeasure. I did see him one evening on the Metro in a cleaned and pressed raincoat, clean shaven, and dragging a wheeled overnight bag heading out to the northwestern suburbs. Maybe it's a good way to make a living for some.

This post was edited by duluthinbloomz4 on Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 15:06


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I stopped "donating" after I read this article a while back.

Though their signs say they're homeless, few panhandlers seem to sleep outside. Most make at least enough for a can of beer, a piece of chicken and a cheap motel room. The typical daily take falls between $60 and $100.

Couch and Saldana say they each collect about $80 a day, more than they would make flipping burgers or stocking shelves. They don't have to punch a clock, ask for a lunch break or pay taxes. "A while back, a woman gave us $400," Couch said. "Tell me where you can make that in a day."

Ogdee, outside the Bayshore Publix, sets his weekly quota at $800. His income has never fallen short in the four months he has held "Homeless. Anything helps. God bless!"

"I'm paid a week in advance on my rent," he said. "I got a load of food in my motel fridge."

He insists he's not panhandling. "I'm not asking for nothing. I'm just holding a sign."

So what does he call it? He laughs.

"Making money."

Here is a link that might be useful: source


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Nope, I drive on by. Windows up, doors locked. When someone asks when I'm on the side way, I shake my head and say no.

If a panhandler were to get more aggressive, I'd call the police immediately.

I support the local Salvation Army, the local soup kitchen and women's shelter, the Food Bank. A church serves lunch every day, and I donate to them as well.

There is help available. I see the same panhandlers at the same places every day. People who are really looking for work or help aren't spending hours every day standing at street corners.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

JZ's link is describing about what I figured. Precious few who are not scammers would be wandering around begging for money. It's illogical. Why would you spend the entire blessed day hanging around an off-ramp or shopping-area sidewalk if you were in real trouble, instead of merely afflicted with an incorrigible case of laziness and self-disregard?

The props can be really amusing. Brand new little red gas cans I have seen, for the "I just need gas to get home" scam. The born-agains are easy marks for them, since they are willing to listen to a short dose of Jesus talk. I guess if you've convinced yourself that Earth was created on an exact calendar year then believing that a guy who just bought a brand new tiny gas can (where?) but now has no money to fill it with a tiny bit of gas is not a stretch.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

There are regulars at the farmers' markets to whom I do give.

One young man, hands obviously crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, is someone I trust to be what he says. One older woman, once a regular, no longer begs, and she's found an apartment thanks to Santa Monica insisting on units for low income persons when granting permits for multi-unit projects; I see her running errands for the vendors -- bringing coffee, sandwiches, etc. A man missing a limb, a mother occasionally begging for food for her children - I believe them and give.

If I'm mistaken in my assessments, I still feel that I've made the correct choice.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

What bothers me is that they all stand in the same place by one or two off-ramps from the highway. How do they all "know" to stand in that exact spot? These include people whose signs indicate that they were "stranded." If you were stranded and didn't know anyone, how would you know to stand in the spot where everyone else does?

So, I don't give money. Sometimes I will hand them a snack, like a granola bar.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Well, I have a friend that gave a McDonald's free meal card and saw the "homeless" person toss it in the trash on the corner.

There was a "vet" in a town we lived in during the 90s that was always outside Albertson's grocery store, with his dog.
I think I've told this story before, but he had a beard and a sign and he always pulled at heartstrings like he knew he did. He was there the entire two years we lived in that town.

One Saturday my DH was driving and we were headed out of town, and the girls mentioned how I wouldn't let them give money. So he gave them money and got out with them and they gave it to him and he thanked them.

After a quick errand, we drove to the gas station/convenience store across the street from the grocery store, and DH gassed up and went inside to pay. The girls said, "Mom, mom, look"--there was the "homeless vet" who very well could have been either or both, and he had beer, sitting in the shade leaned up against the cinderblock side of the convenience store with his dog, drinking the donation the girls just gave him.

Life lessons.

I've given money to girls that acted and looked desperate, knowing full well it was going for drugs, etc. My daughter is involved in charity work and when I was visiting, she stopped at a red light a desperate looking late 20 something girl had a sign; I got out a couple of $20s and my daughter shoved my money back at me and instead gave her $5 and a card she keeps in her car, and asked if the girl knew some charity, and told her to call the number on the card. The girl said she knew about it. When we drove off she said, "Mom, these people will blow $40. If they could handle money in the first place they probably wouldn't be in this mess. There are plenty of charities that will help. " Of course this girl may have made several hundred that day, I don't know. She did look like the real thing.

Also, a friend in Houston's husband went to a guy that is on the interstate intersection every Saturday and said he had hard work, he would take him back to the house and pay him to work in the yard all day and buy him lunch. The guy wasn't interested at all.
There ya go.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 16:43

I see them every day, many of them have been my patients.

I don't give money, but I will generally make eye contact and greet them with a "good morning" or "good afternoon", as I do to anyone I pass on the sidewalk who makes eye contact with me. There are good homeless services in our city, and many of the panhandlers aren't homeless, or not even always needy.

If they are our patients, we have backpacks, supplies and socks we give them.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I need to add that I have given food to beggars but not money. Someone very close to me is a (recovering) alcoholic and I would always give that person food but never money. My experience may well be why I don't give money to beggars.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 17:40

My current impression is that the ones here are pretty much all addicts.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

he would take him back to the house and pay him to work in the yard all day and buy him lunch. The guy wasn't interested at all. There ya go.

You are trying to bolster your ideological views about poverty and social welfare with an anecdote. It is a bunch of baloney that all poor or homeless people that were physically capable of work would refuse any job that paid a living wage. I do not blame the poor guy for not wanting to be enslaved at someones home at some remote location in order to work all day just for the promise of a lunch and maybe a ride back to the ghetto.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

In Portland, OR, there's a "currency" for the homeless that ensures they spend your contribution on what they need.

FTA: "PORTLAND, Ore. You probably walk or drive by panhandlers all the time. You might not give them any money, but plenty of people do.

Do you ever wonder what they buy?

Travis Vanstaaveren says he’s found something better to give than cash.

“It’s a homeless currency. A Lot of people don't want to give (the) homeless cash, so they buy tokens from us,” he said.

Vanstaaveren is the Executive Director of Sanctity of Hope, a nonprofit run by volunteers who are distributing tokens in the community that the homeless can use to buy goods and services at participating businesses. They can't use them to buy cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.

“I didn’t have too much trouble giving cash to the homeless,” said Vanstaaveren. “I figured it was not up to me what they did with the money. But I knew a lot of people who did care, but wanted to give.”

Homeless man Dee Stewart said he makes about $50 per day panhandling downtown. He said he uses money to buy food, cigarettes and sometimes a motel room."

Article linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Portland OR: Give Tokens


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 18:25

For what it's worth, here's my take on panhandlers.
Ten years ago I had a job as a van driver for our local homeless coalition/soup kitchen. This job was 7 days a week and involved picking up homeless people and bringing them to dinner at 6pm every night, plus visiting the camps with an outreach worker and providing services such as taking them to doctors, the VA, SS disability benefits hearings, etc.
Needless to say, I knew every homeless person in the county, where they camped, and their life stories.
The vast majority of them were harmless alcoholics, polite and grateful. Some were profoundly mentally ill, especially the "bag ladies". Some were neither, just ordinary people temporarily down on their luck.
That being said, there was only one type that I truly detested: The Sign Men.
These were the guys at the bottom of freeway exit ramps with their cardboard "Homeless Veteran, God Bless" signs. What a bunch of lying hustlers! Most of them weren't even homeless!
Two mega-churches in town held bi-weekly events where they would give the homeless free clothing, shoes, sleeping bags,showers, delicious home cooked, sit-down dinners brought in by the church ladies, and several professional barbers and hair-stylists donating their time and talents. It was quite a big deal, with tables full of goodies in a huge hall. I would go around to pre-arranged stops and bring in vanload after vanload of homeless people to partake of this bounty.
Of course, the "Sign Men" would arrive in their own vehicles to take advantage of all the freebies, except the haircuts and shaves. All the other homeless people would leave all clean, trimmed, shaved, and spiffy.
When I asked the sign men why they didn't sit in the barber chair, the universal answer was that it would be "bad for business".
Looking shabby was their meal ticket.
Anybody who gives anything to a panhandler, other than a dirty look, is a damned fool!


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Last week, it was officially 95ºF out, a lot hotter than that on black pavement, and I was loading groceries in the car and a 20-something guy came up and asked for a dollar to get something to drink. He was sweating profusely, and I gave him $2.

And I watched him go over and get a bottle of water from the vending machine in front of the store. I don't know what he did with the other dollar.

/musta been drugs. Because everybody who asks for money? They're all drug addicts.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I generally don't, but on a few occasions where I've had a few extra dollars, I have. No rhyme or reason for it, but something in their eyes told me they would make better use of it than I would.
I don't know if it is equivalent, but I've picked up a few day laborers to help me with odd jobs - moving heavy furniture or pulling away Kudzu vines while I cut up a fallen tree in my yard. I tell them up front what the job is and offer them $10/hr. If they perform as expected, they'll get a surprise bonus at the end.
When I went to Central America, it hurt me to see a 4-5 yr/old child pushed at me by a parent to sell me a trinket that sometimes came from China, Vietnam, etc. The guidebooks tell you not to encourage these young people because the parents will keep them out of school to pursue this livelihood.
OTOH, I was eating breakfast in an open air beach bar in El Salvador (weekend) when two 8-10 year old boys spotted me and came in to sell me their wares. I wasn't a buyer, but I saw one of the kids eyeballing a jar of cookies on the counter and asked the cook/bartender to add a couple of cookies to my tab. I think cookies were extremely rare in their diet - they were so happy!
It made me want to help other kids (my grandchildren are just a tad spoiled).
I found a non-profit that I really liked: Quetzaltrekkers. It seems to do a lot of good for kids in Guatemala and Nicaragua. I paid for a 2 day/ 1 night volcano hike and my knees turned to rubber 3 hours up. They support kids on the profits on these hikes. 1300 quetzals is approximately $55. That pays for sleeping bags, food, and other camping gear plus 2 experienced guides. I
refused the refund and added a bit.
I apologize for derailing this thread.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Steve, THATS WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION !!!!

OMG OMG OMG!!!!@!@@@!!@


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

denninmi, I am usually in a vehicle and always have a cold soda or a fruit bar to share.
It salves my conscience and I really do not care what they do with the 'gift'.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

They were a fact of life here since I was a kid. I don't think that I have ever gone a day without being solicited for funds.
I have know plenty of people who tried to panhandle when they found themselves homeless as a result of alcoholism or addiction.
I see one of them every now & then & he is now a retired School Teacher. He said it was easier to get picked up for sex than it was to get a sandwich , I rarely if ever give out cash I used to carry lists of shelters & feeding programs to hand out. There are at least several professionals in Soho they are gone during the winter & back very June working the same corners. One of them has 2 looks very well dressed the other is a pathetic shabby state he's really quite good at the craft of working a crowd.
I walked by at least 6 or 7 people sleeping on the street on the work today.
I also give money to Graymoor Friars who run a rehab for the down & out alcoholics. and to the Ali Forni Center for homeless & exploited LGBT street youth.
It's a terrible thing but they blend into the background when you see (or don't see) them every day


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

David, you are right! I should hide my face in shame, but somehow, 5 months later I'm still grinning at my experiences.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

OP: "What do you do? Does it depend on the age, or gender, or appearance of the person?

Would it matter if it were illegal in the community where it happened?

Legality would not be an issue. I don't give to panhandlers. I have given food to beggars in Mexico.

As a teenager, My girlfriends and I panhandled, then got an adult to go into a liquor store and get us some Boone's Farm or Bali Hai.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I don't give to "regular" panhandlers. The ones at traffic lights and the ones we see downtown on the weekends. Have seen too many fakes down there.

I have given to two people in last two weeks:

Gave $10 to an elderly man pushing a little girl in a stroller. They were in the grocery store parking lot. It was in the upper 90's that day.

Gave $10 to a tiny little ole lady standing at the front entrance to the hospital. She said she had been in the ER all night and needed money for a prescription. Had tears in my eyes as I punched in.

Two days later, there she was again at the front entrance. Funny but, I wasn't angry and I didn't really feel duped. She did not look well at all. She didn't ask me again.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I'm a soft touch. I give them money. It's probably stupid and maybe they are taking advantage, but since I can't be sure I'll err on the side of caution and they get some money. I will never turn down anyone in distress, even if they might have a drug or alcohol addiction.

My daughter is smarter - if they say they want food she'll tell them to come with her and she'll buy them lunch. Sometimes they take her up on the offer; other times they just walk away.

It might be different if you're bombarded by panhandlers every day, but I don't often encounter them and can't turn my back on anyone who appears distressed.

Maybe I should learn, but I can't help myself. Someone says they need help and my wallet opens up. Probably, if it was something that I had to face every day, I would be more selective or else I'd go broke.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I never give anything to what I am sure are the pros. Usually at the lights on certain downtown roadways that are known for long waits for a left hand turn.

The homeless on the downtown streets are a different story. They are truly lost souls and they rarely beg. I won't give them money but I often buy sandwiches, soup or coffee for them. They usually say thank you or God bless you........or they just stare.

We need to do a better job looking after those we barely even see.......not that they aren't there.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

There are a lot of homeless people here, so I encounter this pretty frequently. When someone begs from me, I say "no" just that simply. I don't want to have to listen to a sob story, or worse, have them argue with me about whether I have the money to give or not. I don't have the patience to deal with people I know that way, much less strangers.

Now I will sometimes give them food. I hardly ever mind sharing food, whether it be the peanut butter I keep at work with a hungry colleague, or giving a homeless person part of my packed or fast food lunch. But I don't always have food with me and naturally I am not always willing to get some, though I occasionally will go and buy a bum a fast food burger or something like that.

There is also, like nancy mentioned, the people you really do know in your hood. I'm pretty familiar with the homeless in my neighborhood: who is an addict, who is mentally ill, who is a vet, who are just lawless people (which is a small percent, but it does exist) who gets aggressive, who rarely begs, who has a dog companion etc etc.

So I do more for the ones of those listed above whom I like. Maybe take them some old clothes or a coat in winter. That sort of thing. So I guess personal knowledge is what it depends on to get back to the op's question.

I will say I rarely to never give the homeless outside of my neighborhood anything. And the reason for that isn't really the homeless themselves ... it's that I know for a fact that there are wealthier people who live in better neighborhoods who consider my hood to be "the ghetto" and specifically only give assistance and/or change to the homeless folks here because it is outside of their NIMBY neighborhoods.

Since I think that is an ugly attitude, I try to make sure that I do not imitate it in any way. There is no specific place where "those people" belong more than any other place, so I think globally and act locally.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I usually only go downtown during daylight hours, unless we're going out for dinner, one of the little theater productions, or the symphony. During the day, the "street people" are all young - runaways, throwaways, those that look like they should be in school or doing some kind of work. They probably couch surf at night and just hang in little groups by day. The older ones seem to stay hidden in the parks or in their camps. We have more than an adequate number of shelters, drop-in centers, and soup kitchens.

I don't know what the solution is for this growing visible invisible population.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Posted by heri_cles 10 (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 17:56

he would take him back to the house and pay him to work in the yard all day and buy him lunch. The guy wasn't interested at all. There ya go.

You are trying to bolster your ideological views about poverty and social welfare with an anecdote. It is a bunch of baloney that all poor or homeless people that were physically capable of work would refuse any job that paid a living wage. I do not blame the poor guy for not wanting to be enslaved at someones home at some remote location in order to work all day just for the promise of a lunch and maybe a ride back to the ghetto.
*

I am not trying to bolster any ideas and have no need to.

The anecdote was an anecdote, nothing more, nothing less.

Why do you feel the need to single me out and declare my purpose for posting, Hericles?

I NEVER said that all poor or homeless people offered a job would refuse it.

If you don't blame the guy for not taking the job, then I guess you've never been hungry enough or you've never had children hungry or sick enough.

Apparently that guy wasn't that hungry that day, either.
I do hope no dependents went without because he agreed with you and it was too much trouble to actually work for money instead of being handed money.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I rarely see any but no I don't give in the few times I run into them. Our local TV station did a special on panhandling and one "veteran" said he makes sometimes over $80 a day!!! Who would want to work if you could prop yourself up with a sign and look pathetic and make more money than many people do working an eight hour day?

When I was in NYC last month , I noticed that there was at least one per block, it seemed.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"Who would want to work if you could prop yourself up with a sign and look pathetic and make more money than many people do working an eight hour day?"

Anyone who hasn't decided that the rest of humanity owes them.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

A short time ago in this area, there was a sudden appearance of people at mall exits, busy intersections etc. with signs making claims of being homeless, job loss, dependent children, sick kids, teen kicked out by parents and in one case a woman claimed to be homeless and pregnant. By chance mine was not among the cars stopped long enough to be approached but I expected to be and had started putting a few dollars in reach. It never happened.

It seems I was not the only one who noticed. The local TV news started to follow some of them around to see how they were getting along and if it was on the up and up. It was not appreciated. The locations were changed. They managed to interview one who admitted he made a good bit more than minimum wage and seldom had to pay for food. He could afford a motel room and entertainment. He considered it his job. He moved on after they found him for a second interview.

The entire assortment vanished about the same time.

There are all sorts of places here that someone in need can get help if they need it. I knew that. I also knew that a teen or a pregnant woman or children would not be left to beg around here. There are too many people willing to help them out. There is even a group that goes out in the winter to track down anyone who needs shelter. There are about a half dozen who refuse to accept but the police are willing to keep an eye out for them.

After thinking about it something really didn't seem to fit. The clothes may have been shabby but they were clean and appropriate for the weather. The people themselves were clean if a bit less than neat. The young men were all shaven. They did not appear to have missed meals and one even had a very well fed dog on a leash that I watched him feed and water from a back pack he had stashed behind a shrub,

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I don't even care if the person I give money to spends it for their next fix... I know how it feels to want and to need.

No offense to anyone... but reading this thread, I am saddened by what humanity has become...


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Spare me the holier-than-thou, for once, J.

How do you feel about the non-productive wealthy? Do you feel for them? Maybe you could become a counselor for them. Believe me, they're out there, and some of them are depressed.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I, too, walk right by panhandlers. I see them daily, the regulars are on the same corners day after day after day.

I do always contribute to the Streetwise vendors.

Pn, Ditto to your post.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Maybe too many feel angry at being bilked? The same money given to a reputable organization has a better chance of delivering help where it will do some good.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Dave, a question for you:

The presumably homeless guy, and the water. If you were in that position, would you spend time embarrassing yourself begging for money so you could get cold water out of the machine, or would you drink from the tap behind the box-store? While thinking about how you were going to move yourself out of the condition of spending your days begging for money?

I think we all know it we would be the latter. Nobody spends their days begging and living from one drink to the next (whether it's cold water or beer or whatever) unless they have decided that's what they are want or are willing to live with. I won't facilitate those decisions to any degree. Those of them that are in that condition due to mental illness, which has to be a large percentage, that problem will not be solved by drinks or drugs either.

I view this subject just the same as that I will not willingly contribute to waging wars in other people's lands, nor contribute any more than I must to a social system that produces people who are allowed to spend their entire lives unproductively living in luxury.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I usually give them a lecture about personal responsibility.

Hay


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Am I supposed to feel all offended because I voiced my opinion and you didn't care for it, pnbrown?

In my opinion, this is part of what's wrong with our society... we turn our heads and walk on by those who are less fortunate than we are, or have problems that we don't have... we judge them and refuse the tiniest request based upon what we THINK they are and what we THINK they might do with what we could give them.

Just because there are too many homeless, too many addicts, too many people on the street with issues to help them all doesn't mean we should pretend they don't exist... someone once said, "whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." Who supposedly said that, and why did they say it?

I thank my lucky stars that I'm not in the same situation, that it's not me on that city street, hungry and cold, held hostage by a substance, or by a mind wrecked through war, by a society that doesn't give two turds about me or my situation, or how I got here, a society that looks the other way and walks quickly by, on their way home to eat a good meal, sleep in a warm bed...

And we call ourselves civilized...

A handful of change isn't much, but if I were in need, I'd be grateful for that tiny bit of consideration. I can too easily place myself in their shoes, and for me, I feel guilty as all get out if I don't at least try to offer something, even if it's an apology that I don't have any spare change and a lopsided smile to accompany that, "sorry, I can't help right now."

That's how I feel... and if others can't understand that, there's not much I can do to make them comprehend.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Dave, a question for you:
The presumably homeless guy, and the water. If you were in that position, would you spend time embarrassing yourself begging for money so you could get cold water out of the machine, or would you drink from the tap behind the box-store? While thinking about how you were going to move yourself out of the condition of spending your days begging for money?

Pat, the guy asking for water sure didn't look homeless - more like he was walking in the heat and going to have some problems with heat stroke. I should check - I imagine you're right, there are likely hose taps coming from behind the buildings for rinsing off the parking lots etc.

We've our share of panhandling homeless alcoholics as well.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Jodi, I am not critical of those who give or those who do not. Each of us must approach this circumstance from our own perspectives. Please continue to do that which suits you.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"In my opinion, this is part of what's wrong with our society... we turn our heads and walk on by those who are less fortunate than we are, or have problems that we don't have... "

Who are you to opine that just because I walk by a panhandler, I am turning my back on others who are less fortunate than I? You repeatedly judge everyone else based on a set of standards (obviously the only 'right' standards) and, quite honesly, the arrogance is really old.

Yes, keep on having you judgmental opinion while people like me actively participate in making our world better instead of just yapping about it.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"actively participate in making our world better instead of just yapping about it."

The people who REALLY make a difference in this world are not the "feel good" yappers.

I want to thank the people who've done the most to make this a better world: The people who create a lot of wealth in this world and then die, leaving all that wealth for the rest of us, forever, to enjoy.

People like Gates, Buffet, Jobs,... They'll never consume all that they produce. We will.

"I feel good!!!....James Brown

Hay


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

In fact, I don't even expect that everyone will comprehend my personal opinions on the issue... but they're still the opinions I hold.

It's not every day or every moment of every day that we run into panhandlers... just occasionally. And on those occasions, if approached, and if we have some change or a few dollars on us, we do offer that small bit to them.

It's not much, but if it helps that person to feel a small bit better, then it makes me feel good, too. And if that means they feel better because they were able to score their habit of choice to keep from being drug-sick for another day, that's okay.

Who am I to judge them or what they do? I don't know why they're homeless, what made them decide to go down the road toward addiction, or what's in their mind. For all I know, they're veterans, or parents, or perhaps they're mentally disturbed or challenged... and maybe that 94 cents I was able to give them will go toward a hot meal, or maybe a room for the night, or even to buy food for a child... but even if it is spent on cheap wine, or crack, or heroin... that's their choice. Who am I to condemn them for their choices or needs?

I know what it feels like to be homeless. I know what it's like to be hungry. And I know what it's like to be sick because of an addiction, or to be depressed to the point that all you want to do is cover it up, make it all go away.

You all, in general, can do what you each want... you can walk on by or not... that's your choice.

And how I see society in general... that's my viewpoint, my opinion. You have your own.

Don't confuse my opinions with how you feel. They're how I feel.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

What to DO about beggars? Time to reinstitute The Poor House? Orphanages? Mental Institutions? We are already providing food stamps and unemployment and...charity.

I do not give money to panhandlers. Ever. It's demeaning. It isn't 'an answer' for either of us. If I truly cared about someone -- if I was truly a Good Samaritan -- I would do more than give him a little cash.

The dollar I give to a freeloader isn't going to someone truly in need, and I can't tell the difference.

I trust the needy person to find or be found by one of the many charities that exist to serve them. I trust the charities to determine who IS in need, and to use my contributions to assist them with food, clothing and housing -- and help getting off the street.

I would aid anyone (beggar or not) if I saw he was in distress -- hopefully before being asked. The dehydrated guy asking for water is a good example.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

The problem is that many, many of these homeless people are mentally ill. In our wisdom we decided to close down many of the homes for the mentally ill and passed laws that say the must voluntarily admit themselves.

Of course because they are mentally ill they don't understand whats available and are often paranoid and fearful.

Catch 22......

....so we leave them on the street and for the most part ignore them or even worse vilify them.

I don't know what the solution is but I think we need to view the mentally ill differently than the "pro" panhandler.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"Am I supposed to feel all offended because I voiced my opinion and you didn't care for it, pnbrown?"

I don't know how you are supposed to feel. You can feel how you wish, as far as I'm concerned. No thought police here, which is why I suggested you keep your judgements about the rest of us to yourself.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Don't project my opinions onto yourself at a personal level. Who said I was talking about you, pnbrown?

I said, and I quote, "No offense to anyone... but reading this thread, I am saddened by what humanity has become..."

How do those words translate into any one person named?

They don't. They reflect my thoughts on the entirety of the issue based upon what I read.

I can't imagine why anyone would take that burden upon themselves, in that particular form, using those particular words, as though they had a deep rooted guilt of something...

Projection really isn't pretty.

Read it again... in context, it speaks to how widespread the issue of panhandling is due to the excessive numbers of homeless and others on the street, and humanity's perception of the issue as I see it.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I guess, since this thread has had a lot of responses, I should tell you what I did. Yes, I gave her a couple of dollars -- literally about $2.85 I had in the cupholder of the console of my car. And, I wondered if it would go to drugs, or alcohol. But I'm a softie.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

You are prevaricating, which also isn't pretty.

"by reading this thread" is obviously meant to indicate your shock that some would suggest that many of the "down and out" are scammers. Which they are, and/or mentally ill.

What is the solution for this significant problem? It is rampant in much poorer nations, so that isn't encouraging.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

but reading this thread, I am saddened by what humanity has become..."

Jodi, with all due respect, you cannot extrapolate about humanity because of the content of this thread. You're going all drama queen on us! :-) It's a person's right to walk on by or to give. Either decision says nothing about the person's penchant for charity.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"but reading this thread, I am saddened by what humanity has become..."

Jodi, must admit it's getting to the point where it seems you think only you and your DH have staved off the selfishness the rest of us have succumbed to.

I am so glad that I don't hold such a dismal view of humanity......it must be very depressing.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"A handful of change isn't much, but if I were in need, I'd be grateful for that tiny bit of consideration. I can too easily place myself in their shoes, and for me, I feel guilty as all get out if I don't at least try to offer something, even if it's an apology that I don't have any spare change and a lopsided smile to accompany that, "sorry, I can't help right now."

From the mouth of a self-identified atheist. Sounds like
the words of someone who believes in karma, and to me anyway, that implies belief in some sort of higher power.

Just an observation I'm not going to argue about.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

That's a terrible observation and it makes no sense. Are you saying atheists aren't supposed to have compassion?


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"I am so glad that I don't hold such a dismal view of humanity......it must be very depressing."

The alternative to that thinking might be even more depressing.

Hay


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

From the mouth of a self-identified atheist. Sounds like
the words of someone who believes in karma, and to me anyway, that implies belief in some sort of higher power.

elvis, pay attention. Jodi has repeatedly talked about her belief in karma.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"Jodi has repeatedly talked about her belief in karma."

Yes.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"I usually give them a lecture about personal responsibility."
Hay

ROFL


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Trust me, Jerzee... it certainly doesn't take this thread OR this forum to realize that our world in general is in full destruction mode, most of it self imposed by humanity. Heck, that's all we talk about... year after year, month after month, day after day, thread after thread... crime, corruption, pollution, racism, wealth disparity, poverty, unemployment, discrimination, climate change, drought, floods, cancer, obesity, drug abuse, fraud, loss of rights and freedoms, terrorism, religious hypocrisy, hate and division, and on and on... but we can certainly see all of it elsewhere. HT is only one tiny slice.

I just don't have the ability to look at the bigger picture through rose colored glasses and think that it's gonna get better... because it's not.

We've already attained third world status as a nation, and poverty and homelessness are only going to increase, as will health issues, crime, drug abuse, and much of everything else.

Is it depressing? Sure. I can't help BUT be saddened by what humanity in general has become, what it does to its other members, and has done to the only environment we have as a species. That's not being dramatic... that's the truth. And in some ways, I, myself, have contributed... through my use of resources, my purchases, etc... it's just a part of life we almost can't get away from.

The question was... what would you do if approached by a panhandler? And I answered. But I find that honesty and openness are not wanted...

Would it make people feel better if I lied and said I'd turn my head away so I didn't have to see people asking for some spare change, and walk past without acknowledging them?

I wonder...


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Sometimes I'll give them a $20 bill,.. sometimes a 5 or 10, or what change I have. Sometimes I'll buy them food. The runaways don't have means to collect any govt. money, they just live hand to mouth, often with a dog.(like a dog)

There are certain types, that I have less tolerance for- they hang out on Telegraph in Berkeley, or Haight St. in S.F... rob cars, etc. But still...

Sometimes I'm late for work or have some task I'm focused on and I just have to ignore them. Occasionally, with the Vets, I have helped them fix their bicycle.---. These guys weren't usually drunk, just messed up and preferred to sleep in Golden Gate Park... I got to know one Vet a little bit. He was going into Vet Hospital to get his leg fixed,.. and I never saw him again.

The Getty's of the world need to do more.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Jodi, I'm curious. You say "I find that honesty and openness are not wanted..."

Is there any aspect of your life in which you are not a victim of someone or something or some set of circumstances?


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

You know, most panhandlers are scammers in the sense that they are mostly not in the kind of imminent distress that their particular begging scheme is purporting. But they are not scammers in the sense that obviously something is very wrong with them and/or their circumstances.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 8:34

Once upon a time (before suburban malls) we would go "downtown" to do our shopping ... there were two "regular" panhandlers set up in the same spots for YEARS. No one ignored them, money dropped in the cups. The police did not harass them.

I may be wrong, but I think our (collective our) perception of the "least of us" has changed from someone who is "down on their luck" to "that guy is shiftless and lazy".

During the "great" depression my mother told me of men who came to grandma's backdoor looking for a "handout", my father carried the guilt of stealing a chicken because his mama had no food.

Yes I "drop a coin" in the cup and once I "give" it is not mine to decide what the receiver does with their precious pennies. You never know who that "stranger" may be.

There but for the grace ...


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Panhandling is hard work, as Terrene states in the mirror thread. Who wants to stands around all day approaching complete strangers to beg for a measly handful of change, or a dollar or two? Who wants to stand in the rain, the hot sun, the cold of winter, just to collect a handful of small bills and silver with which to do whatever it is one needs to do? It could take hours, or all day to collect a few dollars. For every person that takes pity and gives a small amount, how many people walk past in a hurry without even acknowledging the person asking?

How do you figure most panhandlers are scammers? I'd put that percentage at a very low number, and place the higher number on those who need the money.

Once a person falls off that last rung of the social ladder and becomes homeless, it's next to impossible to grab it again. One can't get a decent job without an address, without a residence... and one can't pay for an address without a job. A felony record will keep a lot of jobs just out of reach, and without money, one eventually loses one's residence. Without an education, without proper documentation, without clean clothing and appearance, without all the necessary cards in place, one cannot get hired to work a legitimate job.

There are a million reasons one might find a person panhandling for a little change... many are veterans with injuries or severe PTSD, many are alcoholics or addicts, many are runaways, many have other mental or physical issues, many are former middle class families that lost jobs and homes... and the few are people who prefer to live under the grid, and travel around.

I would have to say that if one thinks most panhandlers are scammers, one is not looking at the reality of economics and other failing systems within our country.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Street beggars have dropped off the radar in the regions we live, work, play and travel.

Many are shut down or move on as there's little tolerance for panhandling, loitering or vagrancy by residential and commercial property owners, business owners/management, law enforcement etc.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Jodi: "We've already attained third world status as a nation."

Assuming you're referring to the U.S.A., which definition of "third world nation" are you using? I realize there are pieces written which make this assertion; I'm thinking you took them to heart since they appeared in print.

I disagree.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Posted by elvis 4 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 9:05

Jodi: "We've already attained third world status as a nation."

Assuming you're referring to the U.S.A., which definition of "third world nation" are you using? I realize there are pieces written which make this assertion; I'm thinking you took them to heart since they appeared in print.

I disagree.

*

And I heartily disagree.

The greatest country of opportunity in this world is not a third world nation.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I have to respectfully disagree too. The US remains one of the core countries around which those countries on the periphery rotate.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

If you want an uplifting experience, travel to India or some other truly third world country. We go on and on in this forum about the horrible poverty in this country, but your miserable life would be the envy of perhaps half the people on this earth.

Hay


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

If you think the States is a third world country you really don't know what constitutes a third world country.

You could travel the poorest inner city ghetto in the north or an impoverished rural community in the south and it would still be better than any third world country.

That's not to say that your country , and mine, hasn't got work to do to move us forward both socially and economically, but third world......not by a long shot.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I may be wrong, but I think our (collective our) perception of the "least of us" has changed from someone who is "down on their luck" to "that guy is shiftless and lazy".

I agree with your assessment, and I'll add that there are least two components to the changed perception. Direct contact and knowledge of the Great Depression has faded. During the 1930s the majority of the U.S. public would have have been decidedly hostile to any suggestion that 'personal responsibility' was responsible for the massive unemployment. In addition, during the ascendancy of Reaganism, we had the image of 'welfare queens' repeated ad nauseum. Politicians have done their part to shift the perception of 'the least of us' including the use coded language aka 'dog whistles.'


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

If the US hasn't officially reached third world status yet, it's getting very close. All the fundamental aspects are in place, including high unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, low wages, widespread poverty, extreme concentration of wealth, unsustainable government debt, control of the government by international banks and multinational corporations, weak rule of law and counterproductive government policies.

Our public education system is ranked lower than some third world countries. Our food source and overall nutrition is compromised, health care poor or nonexistent for many, crumbling infrastructure can be seen in some cities, and as our economy declines further, there will be a rapid increase in the deterioration of many systems within our nation.

Our military and LE are fed and supplied while the general civilian population deals with high unemployment, poverty, and city and state budgets that are being slashed, with global warming playing its own part, etc...

All warning signs that we're slipping into third world status as a nation. In another 20 or 30 years we'll more closely resemble many other poverty stricken, economic disaster areas within the world.

At that point, the number of "panhandlers" will have increased exponentially as people try to survive from day to day. The writing is on the wall, and has been for quite some time, now. We can deny it, but that doesn't make the evidence go away. We can say that we "have some work to do", but do we really see any long term solutions to national problems being put into place?

What we see being done seems, much of the time, to be counterproductive to the general population and the prosperity of the nation as a whole.

I predict we'll reach official third world status before I cash in my chips, as it were.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Remember that old documentary Michael Moore did about the closing of GM factories in Flint Michigan? And there was a lady raising rabbits to eat ... that was in the 80's. Now Detroit is bankrupt.

First world countries should have decent Health Care, decent Schools and healthy unions to protect workers.

What should taxes go for if not schools and hospitals and decent public transportation? Must it all go to defense and military and corporate bail outs?

( here I quote from an older NY Times article)

" For black men in Harlem, life expectancy is shorter than that for men in Bangladesh;"

Yesterday, Oakland California citizens were protesting the amount of bullets that are flying through their neighborhoods, and killing an innocent woman and child.
I think many of those people would feel safer in Honduras or Panama.

Grant it, these are just indicators and hot spots, thank god agriculture is still going just fine because another major drought and it would be another depression. Don't think the bankers will bail us out either.

When I look at the corruption in Congress, particularly by oligarchs on the right, I can't help but think of some Banana Republic.

Who was it that was against a Dept of Education? Wasn't it Dick Cheney.?..


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

alex: "What should taxes go for if not schools and hospitals and decent public transportation? Must it all go to defense and military and corporate bail outs?"

and then

"When I look at the corruption in Congress, particularly by oligarchs on the right, I can't help but think of some Banana Republic."

Guess who voted for the bailout? I'll give you a hing: it was the ONLY time he left the campaign trail to go to DC and cast a vote as an Illinois senator. Yup. Mr. President himself. An oligarch on the left who has already written two books about himself. Wonder how many more we can look forward to when his term is over. Pool anyone?


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I used to give to the sign people until I started noticing the local TV news would do an undercover camera once or twice a year following various of these "homeless" back to their very nice homes. Not a single time has any of the news shows found any of the sign people to actually be homeless as in campling, staying in a shelter or a hotel. End of contributions for the sign people.

The newest trend is trying to look cripple by using an adjustable crutch set about 12-18 inches too low. I've spent enough time on crutches to know what leaning on a crutch is like. If I hit the red light by them, I can even see the adjustment button in the shortest setting. Scam artists.

For a while I used to carry McDonalds coupons for a value meal to handout instead of cash. It was amazing how rarely the panhandlers wanted them even when they were set up within a few spots of a McD's.

Now I only give through shelters and feeding organizations.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

For being so honest and appreciating how he must feel, I'd share a couple of my beers with him. Nice beer, too.

Poor fella.

Hay


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Of course, it's up to the individual to dispense charity from their own pockets as they see fit, but I certainly would not let one news segment filmed from a specific angle be my guide.

It's all too easy to specifically select the filmed segments to match the agenda or point of view one is trying to portray... and too easy to dump or delete the film that doesn't match... as in the hundreds of homeless that really ARE homeless.

I wonder how many panhandlers the film crew had to follow to find the one or two that actually weren't in any immediate need... a rhetorical question not requiring any response.

But as Terrene mentioned earlier, panhandling is not as easy as it looks to anyone passing by. It's a job in itself.

And as I mentioned earlier, I hand out whatever small coin we have if approached, and I don't even care if it's spent on the next fix... that fix might be the only thing keeping that person from certain illness, greater than just the illness from withdrawal. One simply doesn't know.

And, yes... I do believe that what goes around, comes around... and there are no guarantees in life. One day, I might be that person looking for a little change. I would certainly hope that a few people would stop to help if they could.

Perhaps instead of spending such mammoth amounts on defense, we should try to eliminate the issue of homelessness and panhandling by funding more programs that help such persons and families. Instead of sweeping issues under the nearest carpet or complaining about them, we should actually try to fix what's broken.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Most of the beggar types I've encountered in the past wanted to bum a smoke, or wanted money for smokes, beer, scratch-offs, tobacco/rolling supplies etc.

Many would ask for change, dollars, deposit bottles, scrap metal etc.

There's more and more competition for deposit bottles/cans and scrap metal, so many resort to begging, stealing etc.

There's little need for "begging" for food/food money in the regions where I've typically encountered beggars in the past due to food stamps, numerous places serving free meals and numerous places giving out free food and household goods.

Some can shoplift some stuff, but the good stuff - cigarettes, scratch-offs, tobacco etc are behind the counters at the urban convenience stores where they shop/shoplift.

Many were banned from the stores and grounds as well for shoplifting, loitering, begging etc.

We used to have quite a lot of metal theft related work in one urban region, however theft slowed substantially after the local salvage yard required a driver's license to sell scrap and it slowed to a crawl when the salvage yard moved.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Years ago I used to work for a company that hired day labor. One woman we rehired as often as we could because she was a great worker. After a few months I realized she was taking the bus back within a freeway off ramp of my home, and started offering her rides.

It was then I learned she was homeless. Basically she'd sleep in the shelter, walk to the Labor Ready office, get her assignments, take the bus to her job for the day, and then do the whole thing in reverse. Me giving her a ride really saved her time and bus fare. And I got good company for my 20 minute commute after work. Win-win.

One day we stopped at a light and a man was there panhandling and she told me "honey, don't give him money, I know him!" and proceeded to tell me that 99% of those on the side of the road are professionals, making 200-300 a day. She leveled her gaze at me and said, "you make that in one day? After taxes and gas and lunch and your clothes, honey? I didn't think so, you keep your money."

So, I stopped. And I look more carefully now. When I give "handouts" it's based on an individual and if I have money in my ashtray (I give to the firefighters with the boots in the same way).

That said, I had a garage sale and when it was over changed it to a "free - sale" and had people pulling up and waving thanks as they drove off with their dishes and linens and kid clothes.

I give where I can. But the older I get, the less it's money I give. And I don't feel heartless at all for not giving when I don't... I work for my money, they are working for theirs. There is absolutely no reason I should be paying them for standing on the side of the road. Absurd.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I don't usually have extra money to help anyone... so it makes me feel good to be able to help on those occasions when I do have some change or a dollar or two.

I get the feeling that some of you see a lot more panhandling, a lot more homeless people than I do... given that some of you live in or near cities. I don't. I live in an area where the homeless are just beginning to show up on a regular basis. A couple are veterans, a couple are young folks...

If someone doesn't want to give, they shouldn't. It's up to the individual.

But in the area we see the occasional person asking for a bit of help, I'm betting it's not just a "day job" to them. They're not going home afterward to a nice house.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Most of the beggars I've encountered have been very "cash poor" people not interested in, or incapable of supporting themselves by working a legit job or two.

Most would have a hard time passing pre-employment drug tests, background checks, aptitude tests, DMV checks, physical fitness assessments, probationary periods etc.

Most don't own a vehicle, don't own a home, don't have a driver's license etc.

They don't seem to hang around very long as the support systems for their lifestyles are fading.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I give where I can. But the older I get, the less it's money I give. And I don't feel heartless at all for not giving when I don't... I work for my money, they are working for theirs. There is absolutely no reason I should be paying them for standing on the side of the road. Absurd.

*

Agree, except that the older I get, the more money I give--but I am careful to be sure it does the most good to those that truly need the help.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Enjoy...

Here is a link that might be useful: Subway Panhandling Party!


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I don't think that a fading memory of the Depression is the reason many people have lost tolerance for people standing on sidewalks begging from auto or foot traffic. I think the reason is because it's fairly obvious that most of these people have made a calculated decision to beg for an occupation. From what I have heard and read that was not the norm during the depression years. People stood in food lines. A friend of mine remembers his parents told him an older couple starved to death in the house rather than ask for money.

Now let's get real: if you knew your neighbor was wasting away you'd do something if you could. If a person came to my door and said "I'm ravening with hunger" I'd give him food, if I had it. I wouldn't ask how it happened, or why didn't they plan things better. Not at first, anyway. Now after a week of it, or a month, you'd want to know what's up, right?

So what's up with being on a street corner day after day, trying to get money as if it were a unique day?


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

You know, some folks would rather panhandle than prostitute themselves... and I'm betting that a lot of homeless, or addicts that live on the streets, don't have a whole lot of choices available.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I think the reason is because it's fairly obvious that most of these people have made a calculated decision to beg for an occupation.

I disagree based on my experience in Los Angeles County, and articles describing nation-wide increased numbers of individuals and families turning to food pantries and other charities (and the problems pantries have keeping their shelves stocked). L.A. County has insufficient emergency shelters/beds for its homeless population, and free medical and dental services are overwhelmed when offered. Vietnam-era veterans are still a significant percentage of the homeless, and care for the mentally ill seems to have fallen to the L.A. County Jail according to the L.A. Times and the SoCal ACLU. Meanwhile housing costs are rising and gentrification pushes out more poor and low-income residents each year. In my neighborhood, real estate prices are roaring past the highs set before the Great Recession.

There's a Catch-22 in Southern California -- outside the large urban centers there are many fewer social services and charities; inside the large urban centers demand outstrips supply.

Inside The Nation's Largest Mental Institution

It's a crime to house the mentally ill this way


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

As we speak, there's a series on NatGeo, I believe it is, called "Drugs, Inc."... which follows law enforcement, dealers, and addicts as they go through life day to day. Many of the addicts panhandle for the scratch to buy their next fix... whether it be crack, heroin, a bottle of cheap alcohol, or whatever their addiction of choice is... most of them have decided it's better to beg than it is to prostitute themselves, or they're so far gone that prostitution is no longer an option.

Cities like Detroit, Chicago, LA, New Orleans, and others are full of these street people, some of them former business owners, Wall Street stock brokers, or just regular folks who fell into a bag and never resurfaced.

Shelters, cheap hotels, even rehabs are oftentimes filled to capacity, and there's a waiting list to get in. It's often difficult to get Section 8 housing, as there are waiting lists for that, too. Heck, there's a several month waiting list for public housing within the tiny rural county I live in!

I think the panhandler that successfully manages to pull down 5 or 6 figures annually and doesn't really live on the street is the exception, rather than the rule.

Many years ago, I saw a special news segment on a guy who pulled down somewhere around $100,000 a year panhandling at O'Hare Airport... he always had a ready story as to why he required the kindness of strangers... he lost his wallet, or had it stolen, and he was in a rush to get money for a bus ticket home to see his dying mother for the last time... or something.

But I do think this is the exception rather than the norm. I think, especially with today's economy crumbling around everyone, that the norm is living on the street because one has been unemployed and displaced from the housing they've occupied for so long... or someone who really needs help in the form of medication to stabilize mental issues, but has no one to look after them and no money to maintain their meds... or the veteran that has issues and can't seem to reinsert themselves back into society... or the addict that spends every penny they get on maintaining their habit.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"For black men in Harlem, life expectancy is shorter than that for men in Bangladesh;"

If that's true, it's absolutely due to violence. Gun violence. You know, murder. There are a few threads around on that subject, alex.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

The ones that aren't dead are in prison. Jobs, inner city jobs??

The 'bailout' was leveraged by the banks and Mr. Bush was president at the time . These bank people can shut down or wipe out our entire financial system and the Fed. So I think both Presidents were between a rock and a hard place. Congress of course does the voting.

Here's an enlightening quote :
"Nearly half of Americans incorrectly think President Obama started the the bank bailout program, otherwise known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a new poll shows.

Just 34 percent of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center correctly said that TARP was enacted by the Bush administration. Almost half -- 47 percent -- think Mr. Obama started the bank bailout, according to the survey, conducted July 1-5. "

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK for Presidential coughing up


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Say "Get off my corner!"


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Don, haha! Good one!

In the 80 s and 90's I always gave. People would fuss at me but it was my opinion that no one could know the situation at hand - only mke assumptions. If they used it for other than food and a roof, then that was on them, not me.

Then, here the local news did begin to talk about bands of professionals that the money was so much better served given to the Red Criss or the local food bank. In the same show, they also (for balance) featured a woman who had three children, one who was severely challenged requiring her full time 24/7 care. Her husband disappeared after the affected child was born, gone from the state. She had to live on all the assistance the state could provide her, there was no other more productive choice. Sometimes when something unexpected came up, or she ran out of diapers for the affected child, a neighbor would kindly watch the child and also be there when the other ones came home from school and she would ask for handouts at the strip mall until she had enough to cover what emergency had hit her. She cried several times during the interview. What she would need was cold hard cash, not fast food coupons etc. Cash for medication or diapers etc.
I have come to recognize the various downtown busy intersections where the pros work, but how could I ever notice this woman or those like her who ask for handouts as the only viable way of making it?

That woman didnt, as a little girl, dream of growing up, having three children one who required constant care for all his life, only to have her husband abandon her leaving it necessary to beg for cash in order to survive. That was a future she never could have imagined.

It was heartbreaking.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 2:36

As I mentioned in an earlier post, dealing with these people was my job. I literally knew every homeless person in the county. Hundreds of them. Only a tiny fraction of them were panhandlers, and they weren't very popular with most of the homeless because they tended to be liars and con artists. Believe it or not, the vast majority of the homeless are pretty honest folk. You'd see them riding their bikes in the pre-dawn darkness to reach these day labor places for a day of construction site cleanup or some other unskilled assignment.
What really broke my heart were the mentally ill ones. These people were literally raving lunatics who really needed some sort of institutional care. Whose idea was it to turn them loose on the streets when they cannot take care of themselves under any circumstances?
Another thing that galled me were the Haitian and other Caribbean women who arrived in beautiful new SUV's and hung around the office applying for and receiving every handout and service the coalition offered. Seeing as how the county I lived in was about 98% white in those days, I was surprised at how our waiting room would be filled with foreign black women each and every day.
When I asked the director about this, she said that word spreads quickly in the Haitian community and they come from miles around. She said, "I know they're gaming the system, but I can't break our 'no questions asked' policy".
Americans are a charitable, generous, and patient bunch. Unfortunately, there's a lot of "gaming the system" going on, from the chairman of Goldman-Sachs all the way down to your corner panhandler.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Probably around the same time you were doing that job, I was a kid on a commercial landscaping crew in southeast florida. Other than me everyone was Hatian. Maybe their wives were busy scamming welfare, but I can attest that doing heavy labor outdoors in florida summer is not gaming the system.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

In Nashville, they're only allowed to sell papers. I know my paper sellers and I give them money. I also flash peace signs when I drive past them and others. Why give a steely glance or ignore them? So I wish them well.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

I don't know who is responsible for the actual idea of pulling funding for the institutions that housed and helped the mentally challenged, but the President who followed through with it was Reagan, I believe. And the doors opened releasing people who really require the help of caretakers... and without those caretakers, many wander the streets just barely surviving.

But there are many categories of "street people"... veterans who can't reintegrate into the society they left to fight wars for... those who are homeless... runaways... addicts and others... people who don't want to live within society... wards of states that come of age and have no family... and on and on... people of all age groups, from all walks of life...

Those "gaming the system" are few compared to the numbers of honest folk living within "the system". In fact, the big numbers in fraud enter from the door marked "the system".

Here is a link that might be useful: Here are your gamers...


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

um, well being 'on benefits' myself, this is a tricky one because a) I am not begging even though my 'entitlement' is probably on a par with other welfare recipients who may be begging themselves - although with sanctions, delays and so on, this is not a given.
b) I have a kind of ingrained idea that I am not giving someone something for nothing because I would not expect it myself.

So, what to do? Well, firstly, having worked with the homeless for many years, I have a pretty infallible BS detector and I am inclined to trust my own judgement. Mostly though, I will give if someone is at least being seen to do something, even if it is useless busking, playing (badly) a penny whistle, singing, offering stuff for sale, doing an entertaining mime or dance, telling a story........you get my drift.
If I was truly desperate or starving (or one of mine was), then yep, I would also beg rather than steal......but it is always better to be able to earn. Having said that, it is rarely so black and white since the benefit rules are very fixed, making it impossible to try to earn a little extra (it is usually deducted at source but worse, your claim will be stopped for weeks while processing takes place). Many people simply cannot risk being seen to earn money since that would be taken as proof that benefits are not required - with no allowance for changing circumstances, changes in debility/depression/ability to work at all.
As a rule, the majority of truly desperate poor people are not out there hustling - they are sitting at home or in shelters or vans or tents, keeping their heads down and hoping for some change. However, empathy is not something which switches on or off since there are many people out there who are simply incapable of putting themselves in someone else's shoes.....but having walked in them myself, I would rather err on the side of making some offering - when I was a smoker, a roll-up was frequently a welcome gift. and I would offer a sandwich or a drink or something .....but not if I believed that a huge scam was in place (it hardly ever is). Also, if I did offer money, I don't really care what they do with it either since I fully appreciate the pain and grief of needing to make another score.

So, I guess my answer can only be - it depends..........


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

America had very little competition from abroad for obvious reasons in the years of relative peace and rising of the economy after WWII. But when Europe and Japan were rebuilding their economies during the 60's and 70's suddenly there was competition in the marketplace.

Reducing corporate taxes necessitated reducing the welfare state. Already in the 60's, there were reforms to the mental health system; mental health facilities thought to be inhumane and new drugs being available meant many didn't have to be institutionalized. The Viet Nam war was a drain so funding for mental health programs was slashed.

This will ring familiar to what we see today, but the Reagan administration viewed programs to help the poor and the mentally ill as "big government" and those who partook of them lazy and even criminal and just not fitting into the corporate agenda. The Reagan administration might not have thought of it originally, but they definitely carried it out.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

"new drugs being available meant many didn't have to be institutionalized"

I was taught (in schoool, taught) patients were kicked out becasue no one (government/insurance) would pay for them any longer. This sheds a bit of light on it, but it doesn't explain everything.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Oh yeah.....it was taken up by Thatcher (Reagan's partner in hate) and laughably called 'Care in the Community'.

Ho yes, Jodik, the scamming and snouting in the public trough is doing more than OK in the UK - 'any willing provider' is the operating rubrik under which health privatisation is running amok.....which pretty much means that anyone with access to a computer can stake a case for rehab care (or care of the elderly, end of life care, mental health services) and can then be rewarded with immense amount of money from the taxpayers purse.....oh yeah, the homeless shelters are doing well out of it too - charging hundreds of pounds a week for a scummy filthy room in a hostel, all funded by the taxpayer (while, interestingly, single families or households are facing draconian benefit caps). The corporate care sector has no fear of the troughs emptying just yet.....while actually offering not one viable 'solution' ..........unless their continued enrichment is and has always been, the desirable end result.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

We're currently in the month of Ramadan. At the end of it, the Muslim have a great big feast - Eid al-Fitr - which is a massive, deliberate transfer of wealth from the haves to the havenots. Start off by buying a ram sheep or two for a small fortune - say $5,000 - which spreads money all the way down to the nomadic villages where the sheep come from. Then its share the wealth with the poor neighbors and beggars - both food from the feast and cash money.

What you give is noticed by all and stories of generosity move into the folklore.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Many homeless are there as a result of our poor mental health system. It was/is always inadequate and largely ignored by the political community. Of course many did /do not talk about it or get involved due to stigma associated with these illnesses. these are legitimate illnesses and should be treated as such. We as a society are part of the cause as in PTSD and PPD. Just trying to keep up can result in all kinds of problems any more.

Timeline: Treatments for Mental Illness

Here is a link that might be useful: Deinstitutionalization


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

Ultimately, it's looking rather grim for those average citizens who need a little help, isn't it, Campanula?

I, too, think it's partly the ability to judge character that determines whether or not we hand some help to someone on the street, and since I think my husband is a great judge of people, if he asks me to look for some change in my purse, or... as the case used to be... give someone a few cigarettes, that's what we do. We know how it feels to need things, even if that thing is nothing more than a smoke.

Yes, it seems more and more that we find fraud not where the stereotype says we will, but in the very offices that are supposed to administer the help people need. And it's not just a LINK card or a few hundred dollars... it's often millions of our tax dollars being taken dishonestly.


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RE: If you were approached by a panhandler, what would you do.

As a woman, I never give money to men. Just a matter of principle, since men still have more opportunities and make more money than women. I'll give food, though.


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