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Panhandling--would you feel sorry for this guy?


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  #1  
May 11th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Yesterday I was leaving Wal-mart and passed a guy standing at the entrance holding the typical "please help--need money" sign. The guy was 20-25, clean, wearing nice clothes (not rags) and was obviously able-bodied because he was standing there beside the road holding a sign. I guess the thing that really ticked me off was RIGHT AFTER I left the parking lot I passed NUMEROUS places with "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" signs--a couple of stores like Home Depot, and some light manufacturing places as well. WTH? I actually thought about going to these places and collecting a bunch of applications and taking them to the guy, but I had a car full of groceries and a long way to drive to get home.

So, what would you think if you saw someone in that situation? (I'll go first--I was ticked off big time!)
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  #2  
May 11th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I've seen countless people with those signs lately in the middle of intersections and they were wearing designer labels or nice clothes. You've got 2 hands and a heartbeat...work! The time it takes to collect money panhandling you could get a job, but some people actually make more panhandling than working (if they can find the right place or tourist area) so it's a vicious circle.
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  #3  
May 11th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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I tend to look the other way. We don't have that much money as is, I can't give it out. All I can think is, maybe he is lazy and no good. But, on the other hand, perhaps he is having some other problems we don't know about and is unable to get a job at this point. Never know, but I won't pass judgment. Homeless people don't always look like ragged bums the moment they get put to the streets, or am I wrong?
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  #4  
May 11th, 2007, 11:31 AM
lotus86's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I don't judge people. I figure if someone gives up their dignity to stand on the corner with a sign, they need the dollar or handful of change I'm willing to give more than I need it, whether or not they are truly homeless. There are some homeless people who do care about their appearance and are able to use shower facilities in shelters and recieve clean clothes. Just because someone is clean does not automatically mean they are not homeless

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  #6  
May 11th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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I have donated countless designer items to Goodwill and Purple Heart over the years, some with the tags still on them. I don't think that the clothes always make the man, if you KWIM. If I have a dollar or five to spare I am always willing to give it to them.

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  #7  
May 11th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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I would have felt a lot more charitable toward him if he wasn't standing within a few hundred of feet of several people/businesses who were willing to give him money for working for them. I am all for helping out those in need, but I draw the line at people who would rather get something for nothing than get a job.
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  #8  
May 11th, 2007, 11:56 AM
Ms.Michelle
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Quote:
Yesterday I was leaving Wal-mart and passed a guy standing at the entrance holding the typical "please help--need money" sign. The guy was 20-25, clean, wearing nice clothes (not rags) and was obviously able-bodied because he was standing there beside the road holding a sign. I guess the thing that really ticked me off was RIGHT AFTER I left the parking lot I passed NUMEROUS places with "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" signs--a couple of stores like Home Depot, and some light manufacturing places as well. WTH? I actually thought about going to these places and collecting a bunch of applications and taking them to the guy, but I had a car full of groceries and a long way to drive to get home.

So, what would you think if you saw someone in that situation? (I'll go first--I was ticked off big time!)[/b]
The first thing I wonder is what type of mental issue is hurting them and how this poor individual fell through the cracks.

Quote:
Mental illness among the homeless:

o Percentage of homeless people who had had either a mental illness or a substance abuse diagnosis: 86%

o Percentage of homeless people with mental illness that also had a substance abuse problem: 75%

o Percentage that said that their illness was the reason they became homeless: 22%

o Percentage of homeless people with schizophrenia: 5.7%

o Percentage of homeless people with mood disorders: 38%

o In the year prior to being homeless:

o 30% had been in jail

o 6% had been in a psychiatric hospital

o 25% had been clients of a mental health clinic

o 20% had received addiction services

o Percentage of homeless people with mental illness: 30 – 35%

o Percentage of homeless women with a mental illness: 75%

o Percentage of formerly homeless people who were helped to find housing who remained in their home 9 months later: 91%[/b]
Source is the Mood disorders of Canada


Quote:
Causes:

Lack of low income housing

Deinstitutionalization: The 1960s and 1970s also saw an international movement to deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. Studies found that the vast majority of those who had been placed in asylums could be healthy and productive members of society if placed in the community and provided with the proper care and medication. Thus over these decades the number of people confined to mental institutions fell dramatically from just under 70,000 to about 20,000. However, while great savings were made by shutting down empty institutions much of this money was absorbed by general government funds, and did not make it into community care. No assurances were made that those discharged had access and were taking the medication they needed. While some of those discharged did integrate with the community, a significant number estimated at around 75% did not. Many of these individuals became homeless. Today up to 40% of homeless have some sort of mental illness.

Increased poverty[/b]
Canadian Source

Quote:
Hundreds of thousands of homeless have severe mental illnesses
Between 150,000 and 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless among the 744,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from a 2005 national survey). These 150,000–200,000 individuals are equivalent to the population of such cities as Dayton, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Providence, Rhode Island; Richmond, Virginia; or Salt Lake City, Utah.
At any given time, there are many more people with untreated severe psychiatric illnesses living on America’s streets than are receiving care in hospitals. Approximately 90,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are in all hospitals receiving treatment for their disease.
The New York Times reported that in Berkeley, California, "on any given night there are 1,000 to 1,200 people sleeping on the streets. Half of them are deinstitutionalized mentally ill people. It’s like a mental ward on the streets."
E. Nieves. Fed Up, Berkeley Begins Crackdown on Homeless. New York Times, November 3, 1998, p. A19.[/b]
US source
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  #9  
May 11th, 2007, 11:57 AM
rose198172's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I know this is probably beside the point, but if a person doesn't have an address or a phone number, more than likely, no one is going to hire them. It's a vicious cycle. I understand where both sides are coming from, though. I think there are some scammers out there, but you never know who is who, so I try out of the goodness of my heart to give to those less fortunate... you never know who that might be.
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  #10  
May 11th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 2,667
Quote:
Quote:
Yesterday I was leaving Wal-mart and passed a guy standing at the entrance holding the typical "please help--need money" sign. The guy was 20-25, clean, wearing nice clothes (not rags) and was obviously able-bodied because he was standing there beside the road holding a sign. I guess the thing that really ticked me off was RIGHT AFTER I left the parking lot I passed NUMEROUS places with "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" signs--a couple of stores like Home Depot, and some light manufacturing places as well. WTH? I actually thought about going to these places and collecting a bunch of applications and taking them to the guy, but I had a car full of groceries and a long way to drive to get home.

So, what would you think if you saw someone in that situation? (I'll go first--I was ticked off big time!)[/b]
The first thing I wonder is what type of mental issue is hurting them and how this poor individual fell through the cracks.

Quote:
Mental illness among the homeless:

o Percentage of homeless people who had had either a mental illness or a substance abuse diagnosis: 86%

o Percentage of homeless people with mental illness that also had a substance abuse problem: 75%

o Percentage that said that their illness was the reason they became homeless: 22%

o Percentage of homeless people with schizophrenia: 5.7%

o Percentage of homeless people with mood disorders: 38%

o In the year prior to being homeless:

o 30% had been in jail

o 6% had been in a psychiatric hospital

o 25% had been clients of a mental health clinic

o 20% had received addiction services

o Percentage of homeless people with mental illness: 30 – 35%

o Percentage of homeless women with a mental illness: 75%

o Percentage of formerly homeless people who were helped to find housing who remained in their home 9 months later: 91%[/b]
Source is the Mood disorders of Canada


Quote:
Causes:

Lack of low income housing

Deinstitutionalization: The 1960s and 1970s also saw an international movement to deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. Studies found that the vast majority of those who had been placed in asylums could be healthy and productive members of society if placed in the community and provided with the proper care and medication. Thus over these decades the number of people confined to mental institutions fell dramatically from just under 70,000 to about 20,000. However, while great savings were made by shutting down empty institutions much of this money was absorbed by general government funds, and did not make it into community care. No assurances were made that those discharged had access and were taking the medication they needed. While some of those discharged did integrate with the community, a significant number estimated at around 75% did not. Many of these individuals became homeless. Today up to 40% of homeless have some sort of mental illness.

Increased poverty[/b]
Canadian Source

Quote:
Hundreds of thousands of homeless have severe mental illnesses
Between 150,000 and 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless among the 744,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from a 2005 national survey). These 150,000–200,000 individuals are equivalent to the population of such cities as Dayton, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Providence, Rhode Island; Richmond, Virginia; or Salt Lake City, Utah.
At any given time, there are many more people with untreated severe psychiatric illnesses living on America’s streets than are receiving care in hospitals. Approximately 90,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are in all hospitals receiving treatment for their disease.
The New York Times reported that in Berkeley, California, "on any given night there are 1,000 to 1,200 people sleeping on the streets. Half of them are deinstitutionalized mentally ill people. It’s like a mental ward on the streets."
E. Nieves. Fed Up, Berkeley Begins Crackdown on Homeless. New York Times, November 3, 1998, p. A19.[/b]
US source
[/b]
So the fact that someone is "mentally ill" to ANY degree automatically absolves them from having to take any responsibility for themself? I don't buy it.

Although I do agree with the bit about the de-institutionalization of mental illness. The situation was bad before but the "fix" actually made the problem worse.

FYI--The guy's sign never claimed he was homeless, just that he needed money.
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  #11  
May 11th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Oops--double post!
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  #12  
May 11th, 2007, 12:17 PM
Ms.Michelle
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Quote:
So the fact that someone is "mentally ill" to ANY degree automatically absolves them from having to take any responsibility for themself? I don't buy it.[/b]
Well, I guess that's your experience. I don't think we have the right to judge someone's ability to do a job.

My own mother can't hold a job and has undiagonized mental illness. (My guess would be some sort of FAS.) I'm really proud of my mom because for the first time in a long time she has been able to hold a job. One whole year now at Burger King. Luckily her mom, brother and sister have always looked after her.
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  #13  
May 11th, 2007, 12:18 PM
donomama
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I always feel bad for people I see panhandling. We don't know this guy's situation. Maybe he got a job at the Home Depot yesterday, but since most jobs pay every 2 weeks, he can't make it until payday. Maybe his wallet was stolen and he needs money for the bus to get home. Maybe he has a child with a horrible illness and no insurance. His sign just said that he needed money, right? How do you know that he was homeless and didn't have a job?
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  #14  
May 11th, 2007, 12:26 PM
Ms.Michelle
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Quote:
I always feel bad for people I see panhandling. We don't know this guy's situation. Maybe he got a job at the Home Depot yesterday, but since most jobs pay every 2 weeks, he can't make it until payday. Maybe his wallet was stolen and he needs money for the bus to get home. Maybe he has a child with a horrible illness and no insurance. His sign just said that he needed money, right? How do you know that he was homeless and didn't have a job?[/b]
Exactly. If you look in my first post, I also mention lack of low income housing and increased poverty as other sources of the issue. The amount of working poor in the city where I live, is staggering.
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  #15  
May 11th, 2007, 12:38 PM
tevinsangel
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I always feel terrible when I see someone holding a sign wanting food or money. Just yesterday, we saw a man standing at the intersection by Wal-Mart holding a "Will Work for Food" sign. I wanted to stop and buy him something from McDonalds but DH is very leery. A few yards down the road we saw another homeless guy, I would guess that he was maybe a veteran, and he was wearing a winter coat (it was around 85 degrees out) and carrying a bunch of little bags from various stores (probably his only belongings). My only worry about handing out cash (which I rarely have on me anyway) is the possibility that the money will not be used for food or legitimate needs.
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  #16  
May 11th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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A couple of girlfriends in college actually stopped and talk to a "homeless" man that always stood at the entrance to the college and asked him some questions. He made close to 3 figures a year doing it. It was amazing!!!! I do not know if all are like that but it definitely put me off giving to any homeless person asking for money.
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  #17  
May 11th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
A couple of girlfriends in college actually stopped and talk to a "homeless" man that always stood at the entrance to the college and asked him some questions. He made close to 3 figures a year doing it. It was amazing!!!! I do not know if all are like that but it definitely put me off giving to any homeless person asking for money.[/b]
3 figures? As in less than $1000?
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  #18  
May 11th, 2007, 12:50 PM
quietsong's Avatar Just Another Slacker Mom
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I don't judge, but I don't give either. I know that a lot of circumstances go into some people who panhandle. I had a friend in high school whose parents had lost their jobs and were out job hunting; meanwhile, to help make ends meet, she was working a part time job, passing all her classes, AND would go into the subway and play her flute with a hat out hoping for donations. It isn't always a matter of not trying to get a job - sometimes they are doing what they can but it isn't enough to make ends meet for the moment.

Not giving comes from growing up in a big city and spending a lot of time downtown and on the bus/train system. If I gave even a couple of quaters to everyone I passed who panhandled, I would have had to be out there myself. Also, you never know what the money ends up going toward - drugs or alcohol instead of food, etc. I'm not saying that is everyone, or even the majority of them, but I prefer to buy them a meal (I have done this for people who sit outside a mall, I'll get something from the food court and give it to them) or donate to a shelter and let them provide.

Quote:
ETA: Ok, *** is up with the new winking emoticon? It's freaking me out [/b]
I thought the exact same thing when I saw it!!
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  #19  
May 11th, 2007, 01:03 PM
SusieQ2's Avatar Jersey Girl
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I live near Philadelphia and not too long ago some of the news and radio stations were doing stories about panhandlers. I was appalled at how many of them were fakers! They would spend their days sitting on the street panhandling and then go around the corner, get into their Lexus and drive home. They interviewed a husband and wife team who admitted that one of them stays home while the other goes out panhandling and then they switch off. They found out that some of these people were raking in $250-$300 a day!

I know that there are so many people out there that really need the help. Unfortunately, it's the fakers who make it so difficult for the truly needy to get help. Philadelphia has actually done some wonderful things to reduce homelessness. Instead of just providing shelters they have begun to provide counseling, rehab, and permanent jobs.

Here's an article about it.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...NGOK6N89A63.DTL
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  #20  
May 11th, 2007, 01:12 PM
rdhdtrue's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Quote:
A couple of girlfriends in college actually stopped and talk to a "homeless" man that always stood at the entrance to the college and asked him some questions. He made close to 3 figures a year doing it. It was amazing!!!! I do not know if all are like that but it definitely put me off giving to any homeless person asking for money.[/b]
3 figures? As in less than $1000?
[/b]

Sorry typo ... Six Figures right under $100,000 a year
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