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Panhandling Banned in Atlanta, GA

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posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 03:46 PM
My husband use to be homeless. He has given to them when he could. He did try to start a drive to provide food and clothes to them and gave right out of the van. The drive didn't work out so well though, since we didn't have the money to keep it up and there weren't too many who would support it in our former church.

He has learned alot about the homeless. He knows there are panhandlers who are actually wealthy. They are the ones who are more than willing to approach you with a sob story asking for money. He told me the ones who really needed the help tend to stay in the background and invisible as much as possible.

He said you always have to build a trust. The ones that would come for stuff really were not that needy. The more times he came around, the more they came out of the woodwork so to speak. The ones who really needed food and clothes would come to get some. They knew he wasen't there for some alteritor motive. Many homeless are actually afraid to ask for anything.

He has taken the time to locate them in our area, and has actually talked with some for a lenghty time just walking and talking. He has found out there are many types of homeless, and in many different types of situations. Some are recently homeless, the ones who were just a pay check away from the streets. Some have mental disorders. Some have a place to stay, but do not have money for food or other necessities.

Homeless shelters are only temperorary. Many can not stay past six months. You would be suprised how many don't trust the shelters themselves. Some shelters have very strict policies that the homeless just don't want to deal with. Some shelters you can only be in the shelter during certain times. Others you have to be at the shelter before a certain time such as 8 or 9 pm to be able to sleep there that night. How many homeless actually have a watch? This does not help any with a person who could have found a night job, or one working the grave yard shift.

Six months is not enough for many to even try to get their life on track. When my husband lived in a shelter, he found a job working in a grocery store. It basically paid him enough to eat, and buy some other necessary items. It wasen't enough for him to be able to move into an apartment though. He didn't have time to build up the first months rent, last months rent, and security deposit that most rentals require. Affordiable housing is a problem for these people. How many can actually live off a Mc Donald's job being able to pay rent, utility bills, car expenses, food, clothes, and other necessaities? His real dad finally relented and let him stay with him for awhile. Thankfully he was able to find another job, and rent an apartment before his dad kicked him out.

There are those who have basically given up. They lost their job, home, spouse, children, or something that was very important to them. There are those who are mentally distrubed. They have no where to go for help. He told me about one man who was a little bit distrubed, but had a very bright mind. He talked about one lady who lived in an apartment, but couldn't afford any utilities, and slept on the hard wood floor. He was able to obtain a mattress for her though. He talked with another who could stay with his parents, but he couldn't stand them. Then whether or you hear it or not, there are those who have children. They are the ones who need the most help, but are the most secertive for fear of social services. We have never ran into any. I suspect they have others they trust to "panhandle" for them. Some of them could be fathers, but never say a word about their wife and children.

One really can't classify the homeless. Yes some are bums, but others are there due to misfortune, lack of jobs, lack of affordiable housing, and etc. Shoving these people under the rug will not help. The welfare system that is set up, doesn't help them in any why either.

The US truely does not have a system to really help the homeless as they need to be helped. Many think that all they need are the homeless shelters will help them. Just give to the shelter, and they will be fine. The shelters only are able to help a fraction of the homeless. Those who are rich panhandlers are not helping, and actually really hindering the help of those who really need it.

Most thinking that they are just bums, no good low lifes, junkies, and alohoics doesn't help them either. I imagine some resorted to drugs and alochol after becoming homeless to escape their reality. True help is needed. Free housing, food, and medical care is needed for those who really can not get their life back together. A very hotel would be good for this, add staff and security. Low cost housing is needed for those trying to get back on their feet, and can actually find a job. Many people can't find a job, because they don't have a real address to give to their potential employer.

A real solution is needed. Those who would provide a real solution, don't have the money to do so. Those who do have the money could care less.

I honestly think that people who make less than 25,000 a year give more, because they know better what it is like to struggle. They are the ones who are more likely to be a pay check away from the streets.

If you don't feel comfortable giving a homeless person money, go buy them some food. Ask what they need, and get it for them. Sometimes it is the simple and inexpensive things like gloves, underware, socks, a hat, soap, a washcloth, or even toothpaste.

posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 09:07 PM

Originally posted by Mystery_Lady

A real solution is needed. Those who would provide a real solution, don't have the money to do so. Those who do have the money could care less.

Yes, this is the most accurate statement. My experience living in LA gave me food for thought.

Panhandling is a sign of the efficiency of a city. Cities with little or no panhandling such as in rural vermont where I live (occasionally someone thumbs a ride but NEVER asks for money I've never ever seen it here, anywhere in rural New England) run smoothly. People have jobs, and if they don't they have someone to stay with until they get one. There are a couple of characters that live in the woods apparently, some bums, but they don't seem to show their face in town, they keep their distance, so things are balanced.

Large urban centers have a great problem with these people. We don't know why they have given up. Our communities are not as tight as they were 150 years ago when the church was the focal point of people's lives, and everyone knew each other.

But, the problem in our country is not nearly as bad as it is in other countries around the world, such as India. Population density in the urban centers of India is 10 times (perhaps more) what it is in the most dense urban center in the US. What the Indian government does to help to address this is to build free housing for homeless people, and just subsidize it. So at least they have somewhere they can live. Getting a job is up to them, and alot of them are street peddlers.

Crime is still a problem, they have "bandits" there that pretend they are homeless and then rob you. This is from another Indian student I met recently in grad school here.

So, what if we built homeless projects ... would they actually WANT to live in them? Probably not at first, I think we would have to force them in there to make it work. At first they will complain, but it's really for their own best interests. The problem is that the sort of people that throw their hands up and "give up" really just need some direction. They need to be told what to do.

In the Ancient times, these people would be captured and sold as slaves to build the Egyptian pyramids. Since slavery is illegal, business owners can't really do that (although mexican immigrants in southern california many times end up performing similar duties, working farm labor jobs for half of what minimum wage is) legally.

But, making it a crime to pandhandle I think is a good effort to get them off the streets. Putting them in jail is probably not productive. Putting them in project housing IS productive. Obviously fining them is not going to do anything, since they can't pay anyways. They need to be directed into some housing arrangements, and instructed or even midly forced to look for work. The big question is, how to get them to find work?

The old adage is true ... you can lead a horse to water but you can't
make it drink. But I believe that getting them off the streets is a good thing. It's dirty, distracting, and some of them do indeed get violent. Sure it might be assault, but tell that to the person that gets assaulted after the fact! The point is they are in a position of desparation and are likely to attempt it if starving to death. They should not be put in this position in the first place.

How many Europeans cities do you see with homeless people living on the streets?

When I lived in France once for 3 months, someone told me once that the city of Paris has a city corps, where if people do not graduate from high school or go to college, they are required by law (or else locked up) to serve 2 years in the city corps, which houses them and puts them to work as garbage men and other municipal jobs. This is a good idea, we should look into similar concepts.

posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 09:40 AM

Originally posted by grad_student

So, what if we built homeless projects ... would they actually WANT to live in them? Probably not at first, I think we would have to force them in there to make it work. At first they will complain, but it's really for their own best interests. The problem is that the sort of people that throw their hands up and "give up" really just need some direction. They need to be told what to do.

No, forcing them to do anything will not help at all, and more than likely make the problem much worse than it already is. As I said before you have to gain their trust. When you gain their trust, then they will come on their own accord. They will distrust and fight against anyone who tries to force them to do anything. They need help not forced enslavement. I believe two different types of shelter should be set up. One such as a large hotel with the bare minimum for those who can not intergrate back into society, and a different type for those who want to get their life back on track. In no way would I want to force anyone to live there. Once trust is built, you will have more than you could handle since they will pass their knowledge to the others.

You also talk as if all the homeless are bums who don't want to improve their lives at all. I'm sorry to say, that isn't true. Hearing about the homeless and working and actually taking time talk with them are two different things. There are those who want to improve their lives, but they have no decent clothes, no address, and no work history. Employers will turn them down in a heartbeat just for not having any one of those three things.

Your mentality is sadly what I see the most. No true compassion, sweep them under the rug one way or another, it's all right as long as they are not seen or heard, force them to go somewhere else. What is really dispicaple is the idea of slave labor for any reason in any shape or form. Which includes forcing a polulance to work in a "corp" if they don't finish highschool or go college. I hate to tell you that some of our millionaires started out poor, and never graduated highschool. I speak for the US schools, they basically suck with many graduating not knowing how to read or be able to work basic math problems. That is a whole other topic, and a real rant of mine

posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 08:20 PM
In my neck of the woods, there was talk of making panhandlers get licences. I thought that was the weirdest idea ever, but I think the government just wanted to know these people are actually homeless and not using that as their jobs or they just wanted to keep track of them. I'm not sure what came off this though.

I had brought up this subject on the general broad of BTS. Theres tons of shut down and boarded up apartments in certian parts of DC. They are rebuilding and building up downtown into million dollar one-room apartments (and I'm not exaggerating at all) so why can't they fix up these apartment into no- or low rent places. I figure if it would be no rent for the frist few months as long as you are attending training (computers, math, interview skills, etc) and can show that you are working toward bettering yourself. Then for maybe the following few months you would pay to get in the habit of saving and budgeting. Then finally you have to leave and make room for the next person. I would think that would be part of a complete program to help move someone from homeless to self-supporting.

Also, I saved this for last since just in case you folks didn't want to read it. Downtown DC is were you would find the most most homeless people. You can't walk 5 feet in georgetown without running in to a row of beggers. There's so much stuff in DC now. People wonder if this is really the nation's capital. I used to work in this downtown office. At the corner, there was a coffee shop and a door down was a building with a covering. (I'm not sure what to call it, but about 10 or so people could stand underneath when it rained and not get wet). This homeless man "lived" there - right on the corner under a tree. Underneath this tree, he would keep his garbage bag full of clothes or something. He would sit there and read a books or magazines. Sometimes, he would sit at the coffee shop with his books. Under neath another tree was where he kept his shopping cart full of stuff. WHen it rained he would move all of his belongings underneath that thing I tried to explain eariler. When he was not reading, he might sing or dance for passers-by for change. From what i've heard he's been there for months and I think he is still there now.

I said all of that because of this. Sometimes I think people see stuff and look the other way. I didn't like that he turned the corner of L and 17th into his "home", but it seemed like no one cared. No police ever came (hat I was aware of, at least) and no one really spoke of it. In a way I felt bad and I wish the program I spoke on above was in place for people like him. From seeing him with his book, I think he's intelligent enough to do something with his life.

edited because I can't spell or type

[edit on 27-8-2005 by Shaione]

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