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  #1  
July 8th, 2006, 10:17 PM
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Before I moved out of my old town, they started a law that said that homeless people could not sit at street corners with their signs asking for money. Do you think that's fair?

What do you think about it and how do you respond when you see someone like that?



I always feel really bad for them and try not to make eye-contact so hopefully they will think that I didn't notice them. I would like to help them, but I am afraid they won't buy something they actually need with the money.
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  #2  
July 8th, 2006, 10:30 PM
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In Panama, it never bothered me. It was commonplace in some cities to see people walking down the street asking for money or selling small things to people passing in cars in hopes of raising some money.

But then we moved to the states and...I dunno...it's different. I had a few experiences in NYC of beggars following me or trying to do tricks or things for me but getting really close and two actually took my hand. That kinda thing really bothers me. I know I shouldn't be afraid of a simple touch...but grabbing someone's hand that you don't know can really bring out the adrenaline (well, for me it does!). Then the same thing happened to me in Philadelphia when we were walking with our then 2.5 year old. This guy with a sign asking for money in a wheel chair asked her to come sit with him in the chair. I told him no and he got pretty angry...so that kinda creeped me out again...

I want to say that they are mostly harmless, and that was my experience back home. BUt I just feel more afraid when I am approached now. Part of me thinks its some intolerance I have that i need to work on, part of me feels like its instinct...I dunno...
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  #3  
July 8th, 2006, 10:45 PM
Chunky Monkey's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I wish there was something I could do to help more but I am helpless. I have seen someone near the store I was going into begging. I bought a oaf of bread and when I came out, I handed it to him. He was really grateful for it. But I do not always do something like that.
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  #4  
July 8th, 2006, 10:56 PM
chlodoll
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Quote:
In Panama, it never bothered me. It was commonplace in some cities to see people walking down the street asking for money or selling small things to people passing in cars in hopes of raising some money.

But then we moved to the states and...I dunno...it's different. I had a few experiences in NYC of beggars following me or trying to do tricks or things for me but getting really close and two actually took my hand. That kinda thing really bothers me. I know I shouldn't be afraid of a simple touch...but grabbing someone's hand that you don't know can really bring out the adrenaline (well, for me it does!). Then the same thing happened to me in Philadelphia when we were walking with our then 2.5 year old. This guy with a sign asking for money in a wheel chair asked her to come sit with him in the chair. I told him no and he got pretty angry...so that kinda creeped me out again...

I want to say that they are mostly harmless, and that was my experience back home. BUt I just feel more afraid when I am approached now. Part of me thinks its some intolerance I have that i need to work on, part of me feels like its instinct...I dunno...[/b]
Maybe the difference is in Panama the people on the street were mostly poor. In North America alot of them are mentally disabled.

I always give change if I have it. I dont care if they buy drugs or buy alcohol. Whatever gets them through another day.
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  #5  
July 8th, 2006, 11:29 PM
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I think that and it was commonplace, maybe that just kinda normalized it. Maybe it was so commonplace that they didn't really approach people or touch or whatever because I can't remember having that ever happen to me until I came here.

We usually don't carry cash at all, but I know that one of the charities we give to helps run a soup kitchen. Hopefully they serve a lot of the people we pass on the streets.

If we did carry cash with us, I don't know if I would give or not. I don't think I would be too afraid of what they would buy...alcohol costs a lot around where we are...so I'm thinking most are gonna buy food or something more useful.
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  #6  
July 9th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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This reminds me, when I was in highschool, there was a panhandler (beggar), he stood on the same corner everyday begging. The only difference between him and the panhandlers on every corner was that his cardboard sign read "why lie, I need a beer".
I had to credit him for honesty!
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  #7  
July 9th, 2006, 08:49 AM
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I used to be a life skills counsellor in a low-income housing area for school aged children and I wanted the kids to take part in community service so we raised money bought bread and penut butter and made sandwiches and also bought bottled water. We took the bus downtown and walked around and offered it to every homeless person we saw, 100% of them took the food and water and were very very greatful!

We also handed them out cards for The Mission which is a mens homeless shelter. I think the common misconception is that all homeless people buy drugs and booze which is unfortunate because like others said, many of them have mental illnesses aswell.
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  #8  
July 9th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Where I live the only place you find people begging on the streets is downtown. I don't mind them, but it may be because I'm used to them and they usually don't bother you unless you bother/talk to them. I wish I could do more for them, but I rarely have the change to spare

I don't think they should be banned though, as long as they aren't hurting anyone. There's a guy who stands on the corner every day that its nice out and he plays the Sax. He isn't homeless and I don't think he does it for the money but more so to entertain the people walking.

My dad told me that in Ontario or somewhere they have this new thing where you can buy tokens that will allow the homeless people to go and get a free meal, shower, etc.. Instead of giving them money. I think its a good idea and should be spread to other cities, but I'd still give money if I had it.

Some people just aren't given a chance and looked down upon because they're homeless/poor
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  #9  
July 9th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
I always give change if I have it. I dont care if they buy drugs or buy alcohol. Whatever gets them through another day.[/b]
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  #10  
July 9th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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I don't know about this, my dh has seen the shift changes with different "homeless" people working the corners. A car pulls up, the guy that was standing there gets in and another raggedy looking guy gets out with his sign.

I guess I'm just too skeptical. I think there are a lot of people who just don't want to work at a regular job. People can actually make quite a lot of tax free money begging.

That and I always look at their shoes. Many of the people standing out there will look raggedy but than they have got on brand new shoes. Another thing that makes me wonder...
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  #11  
July 9th, 2006, 09:58 AM
chlodoll
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i guarntee the majority of homeless people are homeless! I really bet that man sleeping on the subway vent in 20 below weather is really just trying to earn some tax free dollars.
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  #12  
July 9th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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I rairly ever carry cash on me, SO!


Most of the people I see standing on corners or whatnot, don't really look homeless or disabled, so i'm skeptical. Some people I went to HS with, had a whole plan on how to "pretend" to be homeless, and whatever to get money...
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  #13  
July 9th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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I just don't get how panhandling rakes in the mega-bucks Maybe enough for a meal,or some smokes and a beer, or whatever, but nothing substantial.

Furthermore, I donate lots of nice-looking (sometimes even never-worn) clothes to the Salvation Army and the local shelter all the time. Just because someone isn't wearing a potato sack doesn't mean tey arent destitute. Lots of people are homeless but they have some POS car they live in. Some are even able to *gasp* shower and work, returning to their homes (shelters) in the evening.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the person who is homeless doesn't necessarily "look" homeless, KWIM?
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  #14  
July 9th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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I used to be a real bleeding heart when it came to the homeless and it would not be uncommon for me to give away tons of my money to beggars, but I have a lot less patience now. Where I live, you can't even walk down the street without someone coming up to you and begging you for money-they give you their whole life story, and it's always the same schpiel-I just got out of jail, my house just burned down, etc. I don't carry cash on me, but sometimes I'll carry spare change and I will usually give it to them, but 9 times out of 10 they will ask for more You give them an inch and they take a mile, and they can get really rude and abrasive if you don't have money or don't give them enough. Because I am caucasian, I stick out in my neighborhood, so they see me as an easy, naive target. It's so out of control, there have been a number of times when I have been at a stoplight and a beggar has come up to my car and asked me for money ! I know it is tough to find a job, and the system is flawed especially for the mentally ill, but I feel like there is a certain way to do things. You can't get something for nothing in this world and I would be alot more happy to give if they were less pushy and more respectful, and if they actually DID something or offered some kind of labor rather than ask for a handout.
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  #15  
July 9th, 2006, 03:02 PM
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Blondie, I have to agree with a lot of what you have said. Great job!
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  #16  
July 9th, 2006, 11:24 PM
greenjeans's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
I don't know about this, my dh has seen the shift changes with different "homeless" people working the corners. A car pulls up, the guy that was standing there gets in and another raggedy looking guy gets out with his sign.[/b]
I've seen this too in our area. Happened at the same time everyday. We used to laugh that they were unionized. One woman used to have a sign giving her sob story about how she lost her leg tragically. Something about a husband or something. She actually lost it in an a drug hazed suicide attempt.
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  #17  
July 9th, 2006, 11:32 PM
chlodoll
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I just don't get how panhandling rakes in the mega-bucks Maybe enough for a meal,or some smokes and a beer, or whatever, but nothing substantial.

Furthermore, I donate lots of nice-looking (sometimes even never-worn) clothes to the Salvation Army and the local shelter all the time. Just because someone isn't wearing a potato sack doesn't mean tey arent destitute. Lots of people are homeless but they have some POS car they live in. Some are even able to *gasp* shower and work, returning to their homes (shelters) in the evening.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the person who is homeless doesn't necessarily "look" homeless, KWIM?[/b]
Very true. I donate clothes that dont fit or are not in style anymore to Goodwill. Here there are two parts to Goodwill, the actual store and another area that is $1 per pound of clothes. Obviously the per pound stuff isnt as nice but if you saw someone wearing it on the street you wouldnt assume they were homeless, you would think they were poor or perhaps just had poor taste. Not all homeless look dirty or have rags for clothes. Alot of homeless people goto shelters to sleep at night they dont all sleep right on the street corner.
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  #18  
July 10th, 2006, 12:03 AM
babysmith's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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we like to give them gift cards to mcdonalds and stuff so they cant cash it in for money and they will use it on food, I know I must sounds horriable but we are always afraid they would spend it on something else...
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  #19  
July 10th, 2006, 12:17 AM
chlodoll
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we like to give them gift cards to mcdonalds and stuff so they cant cash it in for money and they will use it on food, I know I must sounds horriable but we are always afraid they would spend it on something else...[/b]
You just have giftcards in your wallet? Or are there only like 3 homeless people where you live?
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  #20  
July 10th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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I have seen several local news stories where a "homeless" person was panhandling on the street corner. The news reporter filmed the subject in secret, and after collecting for a while, the guy would go around the corner, toss his "homeless and hungry" sign into a brand new SUV, jump in and drive off. This same story has been done more than once, with different subjects, in my area anyway. Apparently there is some gain for standing there begging or else NO ONE would do, not even the homeless themselves.

In the places I have lived there have a been a few truly homeless people. I have only briefly lived in a town with over 30,000 people, so the places I've lived haven't been crowded with homeless sleeping on the street. But there would be a few, and I would see them over and over again, and I would give those particular people money. One guy in the town where I grew up was always eating out of garbage cans--I actually saw him on several occasions take food from a garbage can and put it in his mouth. I gave money to him sometimes, but I almost never give to people just standing by an intersection holding a sign, because a lot times their signs say "stranded here, homeless and hungry," and yet they are there, day after day in the same place for weeks at a time.

I donate lots of used clothing to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. I also used to donate 1% of my pay to local charities through my employer's "giving project," when I was working. We also donate to our church, who runs a food pantry one day a week and does other charitable work in our community. I like the giftcard idea--I might keep some of those around in case I ever do run into panhandlers in my area.
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