How could one disagree with J RoAnne Bergman, director of a homeless shelter in Corpus Christi, Texas, when she declares that most panhandlers want money, not any type of assistance towards gainful employment. One would expect Miss Bergman to be sympathetic/empathetic towards the plight of the homeless, but she has seen first hand the type of unaccountable, irresponsible, lazy, lying trash many of us see standing on street corners in cities across our once great country.
We were in Roswell, NM visiting relatives during July 4rth weekend and observed the same guy camped out near a Walmart all day long for two days. Police officers drove by not paying the beggar any heed. I guess you really can’t throw them in jail.
As the executive director of a homeless shelter, I served on the Homeless Coalition in Corpus Christi, Texas. We did what Nina Fritz suggested in her letter. We created a business card-sized information handout with all the resources for the homeless. Where they could get a meal, food, clothing, medical treatment and medicines, etc. It was well done listing all with phone numbers and addresses. I carried a boxful of them in my car and at every opportunity I handed them out. Then, unfortunately, I watched in my mirror as I drove away as the person tore the card up and added to the litter on the street.(Hopefully, anybody who reads this, will NEVER give the lowlifes another penny!)
I cannot say how many of the homeless in Pensacola are really looking for a meal. But in Corpus I watched a woman, sometimes with a small child, panhandling on the same street corner every day and as I was leaving work saw a man(We know of this man and a friend in Corpus knows his name; he can be arrested and there is a criminal charge for stealing via faking homelessness/disability) in a brand new expensive vehicle pick her up. We also witnessed a van that would drop people off on street corners and pick them up at night, maybe 10 to 12 in the van. I believe that was a human trafficking situation. Anyway Nina, save your money. I promise you that the majority of those flyers would end up in the gutter as litter. Yes, some of those poor folks do want help, but most only want the money. They can, and do, take in $200 to $300 or more every day and not pay taxes on any of it. SAD.