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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Begging and Homelessness

This is another picture that shows, in a very strong way what many in our community do when they see a homeless person.  Did you see the previous post?  How can we fix homelessness, if we don't acknowledge it?  Do we (Collective We), not acknowledge it because we don't know how to fix it?  

I don't know the answers, but sometimes think people look away because they don't want to stare, which is considered impolite.  Maybe just smiling, or saying hello would be a step to make them feel less invisible?

None of the above has mentioned begging, so let me address that, since it is the title of the post.  (Just found the picture profound).  Recently I've read some articles about some communities cracking down on what they are calling aggressive begging.  The first article was actually from The UK.  The area where the royal wedding will be, has a handful of homeless/street people.  Their government has decided it's inappropriate for them to be there on the doorsteps when the royal wedding uses that particularly route.  They indicate they are being forceful---aggressive with begging, some who work or live in the area say that's not true; while other business want the homeless gone.  Apparently, the problem is global, not specific to The United States.

I've passed people who have a can or bucket ...some container and are requesting donations, but, I've never had anyone actually approach me and beg for money.  Have you?  Do you give money to those with containers?  Some say it helps, others say it's not a good idea, as some aren't real homeless people, but con artists.  How do you know if you're really helping someone?  Isn't it better to perhaps give donations to someone who might be a con artist, than to not help anyone?

I see both sides of the issue, and have from time to time drop some money in the container; other times not.  I don't more than I do, and sometimes I later feel badly because I didn't.  Sometimes it's because I don't want to open my purse, sometimes it's because I know I don't have small bills..........I often carry very little cash, because I charge 99.9% of all my purchases.  I sometimes put a couple of dollars in a pocket (if I have one, and often as a women don't have pockets), so if see someone I can make a contribution without getting into my purse.  

Tell us what you do?  Tell us what you've seen.  Perhaps we can learn from each other.

In my effort to blog in ABC order, this is my B post.
A post is HERE, if you missed it.

All donations regardless of size and number are valued. All donations are appreciated. The Power of One is awesome, and when we work together The Power of One becomes The Power of Many.

9 comments:

  1. When I was working in Lansing, I would see the same people day after day standing on their own corners. I never gave any money. I don't roll down my window to anyone that I don't know. When I lived in Nashville TN, the homeless sold a newspaper that they published. It had articles that they wrote themselves. They had 25 cents for it, sold it for $1. The 75 cents was profit for them. I did buy the paper each month.

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    1. Thanks Sue for sharing, much appreciated. And thanks for the visit.

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  2. I have been directly approached for money. I will buy gas, food, help to pets and other items. I will not give cash. I also do not carry much cash for that reason. I am a big softy! It usually happens at a strip of stores (Walmart, gas station, fast food) when approached I always offer to purchase fast food, baby diapers, whatever. Sometimes they say yes, other times they just walk off.

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    1. Thanks for the visit and comments, much appreciated Cynthia.

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  3. Once I was approached in a parking lot by a young boy about 8. He asked for food. Said he didn’t want any money. He was very hungry. No problem I said. He was with his grandpa living in a van. I offered to go right back into Walmart and buy whatever he needed, including grandpa. They settled on a fast food breakfast. I walked in and said order whatever you want. Just the child ordered, I made grandpa order too. I paid and left. That is the kind of help I like to offer.

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    1. Sweet story, thank you for sharing. So glad you were able to help them.

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  4. I don't carry a lot of cash because I rarely travel alone anymore. Were I in that position I would prefer to buy food or drink and not give cash. My reasoning is because I wouldn't be contributing to purchase of drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. I think providing the scarves and hats and socks is a great way to help where you know what the item will be used for.

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    1. A lot of people feel the way you do Sandie, about knowing how the money would be spent, or perhaps being spent on something you don't agree with. I have very mixed emotions about that, but whole heartedly agree about our hats, scarves etc. Thanks for the visit and comment, both are appreciated.

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  5. Sandy, since I commute via bus, I run into them a lot. Bouncing between jobs, I have also worked through per diem temp agencies, they frequently turn up there, looking for work that won't ask too many questions.

    I try to help with what I can afford (just not actual cash for multiple reasons. It puts me at risk for robbery & attacks, being followed & repeatedly hounded for hand-outs.) Yes, some will get aggressive; most do not.

    When Columbus published Street Speech paper, I bought from 2 regulars. One I gave an old hand-dolly my son retrieved at the junkyard when he worked there. The young man (not much older than my son) had saved his coins from paper sales to purchase an old pickup which gave him other employment options. We have other history and cross paths from time to time.

    The other guy I have not seen in over a year - since before Street Speech ceased publication locally - he shared that he had been diagnosed with some type of cancer. I bought a simple drawstring-top bookbag/backpack and filled it with several full-sized personal care items & a hand-knitted washcloth. He had shared on the bus one day, just how difficult it was to get those things beyond the holiday dole-out. I could tell that keeping himself clean & presentable was important to him.

    A couple others I worked with at jobsites. As I cleaned out closets, I gave them shirts my son wasn't coming back for. They were clean (some like new) and gave them clothes for work. One guy was an avid reader so I saved my thriftshop books for him.

    One woman was able to wear some clothes I had shrunk out of. Which expanded her work wardrobe.

    Sometimes I have fed tbem; other times (when I had wheels) I gave tbem lifts to & from jobsites.

    Because I work & commute alongside them, I have greater opportunity to interact with them and to learn what they see as needs that I can help with.

    But many are both desperate and proud so I try to be respectful in giving help.

    That is actually how I met the young man I mentioned. A friend asked me to help them bless someone with a bus pass. When I gave him the monthly pass, he gave me his partly used 7-day pass and asked me to share the blessing further. I gave it to a young mother with a baby & a pre-schooler, whose transfer had expired before she could get to a store for diapers & food, on her way home from work, after collecting her children. So she didn't have to choose between fare & food.

    I was given this task several times. Each recipient reacted like it was a winning lottery ticket. One young woman asked to hug me. She & her partner shared just ONE pass because it was all they could afford. That 30-day pass gave them both opportunity to pick up extra work.

    Now whenever I am caught between 31-day passes, needing to use a 1-day pass, I always try to find somebody who can use the remaining commute hours on it.

    I'm "on the ground" so to speak, so it is perhaps easier for me to observe their needs & wants.

    I also don't give cash because I do worry about contributing to substance enabling. Their responses tell me pretty quickly if they are running a scam.

    Marti

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