Sunday, January 8, 2012

Update & Panhandlers


It’s been a bit since my last posting which is good in a way.  I’m still alive, though I have developed another cough due to chemicals that are in the storage unit building.  I will work feverously to get rid of it as I always do.

The lady I had previously wrote about has not said anything about me to the staff and as I found out from her last week, there are about 3 other people on the property that are also doing the same thing as I am.  What is also interesting is during one of my soup kitchen outings, I overheard a conversation about the same subject.  Apparently, the homeless are sharing information on what locations are the cheapest to rent and the easiest to live in.  That is comforting in one aspect, as they have a place to go to as I do, but extremely sad at the same time.  I know that I am not the first to consider doing this, and I doubt I will be the last, but for this to be happening to so many more is just so wrong.  Facilities are packed solid every night and more and more people are being forced out onto the streets every day.

While the media may promote good economic news right now, the reality is, it will take years of recovery to get people off the streets and back into homes.  For a lot of people, they don’t have years, let alone months or days.

This brings me to another subject that I feel I must say something about; Panhandlers.  While American hearts go out to the homeless, and that is a great thing to have happen, there are too many people who take advantage of that goodness.

Panhandlers are those types of people for the most part that choose not to work, choose not to live in a shelter or some other facility for they know that by standing out on the street corner holding up a sign that indicates their desperate flight, they will make a good chunk of change.  Reports have it from a mere $20 dollars a day up to the hundreds depending on what corner you have and how well you ‘work’ it.

In the mean time, a majority of them will use that money to buy food, drugs and alcohol.  Not one of them will save it and try to use it for something else that may help them get off the streets.  They are content being on the streets and don’t want to change.

The problem with this process is that those people who think they are helping out are really not helping at all.  They are actually allowing for the continuation of a bad habit.  The money that is collected by panhandlers would actually make a world of difference in the community by giving the money to programs that work with the homeless.  Imagine this, in Austin on a given day there are about 40 panhandlers on street corners.  If each one earns $20 per day that is about $800 dollars in one day.  Multiply that out by 365 days that is a total of $292,000 per year.   That is enough money to build a new facility for housing, feed thousands of people, etc.  Money that would go much further if organizations had it then it would for those panhandlers that would immediately spend it on waste or lose it.

So the next time you have the urge to give change to someone on the street, DON’T!  Instead, go home and write out a check to a charity group, even if it is only a $1.00 check.  It all helps those that really need it the most.

Life goes on…I go on.