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Sandra Wright
Star Contributor

Arlington, VA
USA
2087 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2013 :  03:07:56 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
lol on the best offer part. Is this 25 or 30 cents a sort of minimum. It should be peak panhandler season around soon.

Sandy C
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2013 :  06:07:14 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
On this particular corner, many times the panhandler will just ask for a specific amount like 25 cents or a Harley Davidson motorcycle (trying to be funny I guess). The signs are the same many times so I think they store the signs nearby for others to use.

I thought that maybe they thought they had a better chance of getting a donation if they only asked for a small amount like a quarter. One time I did see one of them collect from three cars in a row.

But the woman with the "best offer" on her sign is just asking for some ridicule.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2013 :  11:14:19 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I still stand by my statement that if anyone is panhandling in Minnesota's winter (I've seen people standing out when it's -10'F) that they deserve at least a five dollar bill. I've kept old blankets in my car (when I use to drive) just to give to them, along with some money.
It seems to me that we are all a few steps away from asking for help and even if they use the money for some brandy to warm up it's worth it. I sleep better at night knowing I've done it.
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2013 :  07:20:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lisa, you might find it interesting to google to see if the panhandlers in your city have ever been interviewed to see why they panhandle.

I went online and saw many reports on this in Houston. One female reporter interviewed one man who was an Engineer, drawing a paycheck, and living in the Woodlands (which is a very high-priced exclusive section outside Houston). I could not afford to live there. They are mostly $1 million and up homes. The Engineer refused to be filmed on camera.

Another man was drawing two disability checks and panhandled for the extra money. He said he made about $35 per day.

Another man said he made $450 the first day he panhandled and has never made less than that since. He gave the reporter some tips on how to panhandle and she decided to do it herself. He told her to dress to look like she needed help, smile, carry a ragged sign, swagger when she walked and to get close to the cars. After a short period, she couldn't take it anymore.

When she counted the money, she had $15.00 and some change. She had worked 15 minutes.

A person making minimum wage of $7.25 would make $58 in one day working 8 hours. A person panhandling 8 hours at $1.00 per minute would make $480.00 per day.

There are panhandlers on almost every corner at major intersections in Houston. I guess it would be impossible to count them. Most of the ones near my home are on the same corner every day. I would not even dream of donating something every time I saw them. That would be every day. I see a young man pushing an old man's wheelchair to the corner in the morning and picking him up and wheeling him back in the evening ... again to a subdivision down the street from me that I could not afford to live in.

I understand that a lot of people do what makes them feel good. I would not feel good donating to any of these people. There are thousands of places they can go for food and clothes if they are truly homeless.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2013 :  1:51:36 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Houston has about 8750 homeless people, which includes those in prison and homeless shelters. The mayor of Houston is implementing a program whereby they will contact as many homeless people as they can and put their names into a database along with the needs of these people and the services they could benefit from. They will try to track these people.

That way, all the assistance ministries and other facilities that have help to offer, could go to the same registry and find the specific people they could help.

This sure sounds better and more organized than just having a lot of help out there and not knowing how to contact the people who could be helped.

I hope it works!

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2013 :  6:52:51 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
While I agree with you Jaunita, living in the northern states has its downfalls. Especially, when the number of homeless shelters and available resources to help those in need aren't sufficient enough to care for the large numbers of homeless in the area. Most towns are 20-50 miles apart, and the populations are in the low thousands. Plus, the areas are distressed due to a lack of employment opportunities in the area that could furnish anyone a livable wage, or a job. Consequently, even though interviews and counts have been taken of the homeless, there is only so much anyone can do to change the situation. There are shelters that can bed only 20-25 people or less, meals are served daily at missions, another shelter is open 24/7 but doesnt allow sleeping. Its just a place to get out from the cold and doesn't provide enough space to accommodate more than 30 at a time. There are food banks, but theyre located in areas of towns that are miles away if one doesn't have a car, or drive to get provisions. The huge number of families with children is mindboggling and a good share sleep under a bridge, or in the woods. Panhandlers are common and most NEED the extra hand. We also get those that travel into the area from out of town/state because they know we are generous, and want to help. Like Lisa, there are MANY good people who do carry premade meals, used sleeping bags,and extra blankets to give to those standing on corners, along with cash. Those that turn down the helping hand offered, and only want the cash are those that are the fakes-already determined by local officials. Every state does what it can to fight poverty,and some are worse than others, but in the northern states they also have to deal with brutal winters, lack of free/affordable clothing, because vouchers are limited, and Human Services cant provide for all.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3043 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2013 :  05:56:52 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
While a large number of those who are newly homeless are in the situation because of the economy in recent years and the difficulty in finding work, there is an older set of homeless individuals who were part of the "boom" that happened when the psychiatric hospitals closed. These people are not likely to get back on their feet when jobs become available. And they are not equipped to take care of themselves, and without proper medical care never will be.

They are also the ones least likely to take advantage of a shelter, even in brutal weather. Their ability to make decisions about how to care for themselves is not the best and they have learned to not be very trusting.

We can't lump all homeless individuals into one category. Some desperately need help for now, but have the ability to care for themselves when they can find work and earn an income. The longer they are on the streets the more difficult it will be for this to happen. Others need long-term assistance because they are not mentally able to care for themselves--unable to hold a job or make all the right decisions necessary to keep a home. A small percentage are homeless by choice as a lifestyle. And others just pretend to be homeless in order to take advantage of the good-hearted.

It's difficult to tell a person's story by just a glimpse or short interaction.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2013 :  11:57:13 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I remember the very first time I ever encountered a panhandler. It was about 30 years ago. My husband and I stopped at a rest stop. In the restroom there was a handwritten sign saying that a couple in a car out front were trying to get home and needed money for gas. My husband and I both felt very sorry for them and went out and gave them $10.

After we were on our way, we both realized that this couple had large McDonald's drinks and the paper remains of sandwiches in the console. We thought that, if they were truly short on cash, they would have saved that fast-food money and bought gas and maybe stopped at a grocery store for some food to tide them over. That is what we would have done.

Not long after that, there was an article in the paper that this was a new scam in the area. These cars would be parked at all the rest stops with a letter begging for money for gas. One time the couple needed gas to get to Dallas and we politely pointed out to them that they were headed in the wrong direction toward Houston. It was not long before the police cracked down on this scam.

This left a bad taste in my mouth that I had given $10 to someone who probably had more money than me. I decided to be more careful.

I am known to give large sums of money to people in need, primarily family and friends, but sometimes strangers that I know are truly in need. I feel good about giving money to reputable charities that serve the homeless and needy. I know my money will be used for good. But, if I gave to every person standing on a corner in Houston, I would not have enough money to eat myself. And I would not know for sure if any of my money really served any good use.

I understand all the comments about the conditions up north and can agree that less densely populated communities might not have the resources to care for many homeless. If I lived in an area where I did not see a lot of panhandlers, I would probably be more inclined to hand some money directly to them in addition to charities. I do understand that some people might have an immediate need.

But, believe me, Houston is a different story. You cannot stop your car to wait for a light without having a panhandler walk by. And some are aggressive and almost become angry when you will not give.

So my way of helping the homeless will be mostly to donate to charities.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2013 :  07:27:38 AM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I recently saw a thrift sale posted on Craigslist, at an address that seemed familiar. Curious, I drove very slow past that address only to find I was correct. It was the home of that lady I had given a ton of stuff too. She had one MONSTEROUS sale going on, offering MANY tables/racks of clothing, a ton of household appliances, dishes, and domestic stuff. It made me feel ill to think how many people gave to her from their hearts, only to be scammed! Thinking of this, Im curious to ask. If you are a thrift saler, while browsing the many ads, have you noticed ads posted from people wanting any leftover items for your thrift sale for free?? Ive noticed a couple up here posted a week. Of course, what they don't need they'll turn around and try to resell.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3043 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2013 :  07:02:53 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If I have tried to sell the stuff and just want it hauled off, I really don't care what they do with it afterwards. I am more inclined to take it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but if it's too much for me to haul away easily and someone will do it and not charge me, that's fine with me.

There are so many people who are jobless or underpaid right now that if that is what they can do to meet the bills, I don't have a problem with it. Many estate sales end up selling the left-overs for almost nothing to folk who do the same thing. It's a business, of sorts.

And I do think that is much different from the folk who give you a sob story so they can scam you out of free items they don't need and plan to sell.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2015 :  11:57:54 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I mentioned previously about the mayor of Houston implementing a program to get the chronically homeless people off the streets and into safe environments where they can receive all the help they need. So far it has been a great success. Almost half of the over 8000 homeless are now in their own small efficiency apartments and are receiving whatever care it is they need, whether it is dental, medical, glasses, psychiatric, plus the clothes, food, etc. A lot of these homeless are veterans.

The mayor has asked that all agencies that offer care to the needy register in one place. If a person has 7 or 8 needs, all the help that is available can be found in one place.

I also mentioned about some of the panhandlers trying to be funny with their signs ... like "25 cents or best offer."

Today I saw a first. The man had a sign that on one side said, "My family was attacked by Ninjas. I need money to take Kung Fu lessons."

On the other side it said, "Bank robber out of bullets. Need nelp."

He might think it's funny. I don't.

Another tried to be a poet. His sign said, "My name is Marvin. I'm starvin."

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 06/29/2015 :  12:10:57 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Correct me if I am wrong, but I have always heard that people with lupus should definitely stay out of the sun.

Many times the panhandlers have sob stores written on their signs..like out of gas, or home foreclosed, or just hungry.

But today, there was a woman about 55 or so, with bandages on her arm, ankle and leg, and she was holding a sign that said, "HAVE LUPUS. PLEASE HELP."

She was standing in the hot Houston sun with no protection whatsoever. The sun and heat of Houston in the summer is enough to make a healthy person pass out. I was so tempted to advise her that she should get out of the sun or change her reason for needing handouts because nobody was going to believe her.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2015 :  09:23:49 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I saw something online today that I thought was brilliant!

A civic arts project placed public pianos on the streets of Sarasota, FL, so that passersby could express themselves.

A homeless man sat down and started playing (and earned some money doing so). People were blown away by his talent. Someone who owned some bars saw him and offered him a job playing in his establishments.

This was just so clever!

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/02/living/feat-homeless-man-piano-video-viral-sarasota/index.html

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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