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Freddie the Freeloader

Rose Pink

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What's with all these people?!:annoyed: We have two threads about family wanting help. We have had other threads in the past from other tuggers as well on this subject.

I want to be clear that I am all for families helping each other but I am not for those who just suck and prey on their family members and friends.

My son is living in Pensacola, Florida, and he is appalled by the number of freeloaders. He did not encounter much of that where he grew up so it is foreign to him. People come up to him on the street all the time and demand money. They don't just ask, they demand. He had two men ask for some money. DS took out his wallet. He had a ten and a couple of ones. He gave them the ones. They practically assaulted him for the ten. "You have it, why don't you give it to us!" He has stopped walking through one neighborhood on the way to and from school and goes the long way around. A woman asked him for a ride one day and he kindly took her where she needed to go. Now she shows up at his doorstep from time to time demanding rides. He has told her to get lost but she still comes around occasionally. "I'm just a poor lady and you have a car . . . ."

I tried to teach my children charity and kindness but not to be floor mats. It is just so difficult to feel charitable with these freeloaders who seem to think the world owes them a living. I realize some of them grew up in a welfare culture and don't know another way of behaving. I realize some of these people have mental problems. It has gotten to the point, however, where I fear for my safety and that of loved ones.

I would like to get to the point where I feel neither sympathy nor irritation with them--I would like to feel neutral. Is that possible?

I do give to legitimate, well-run charities so I don't feel I need to give to panhandlers.
 

dmharris

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Maybe Pensacola churches, synagoges, mosques, need to have a cross denomination coalition to address the needs of the indigant in their community if it's getting to the point where the poor are becoming hostile. Governments can't be the answer to everything.
 

applegirl

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I agree with everything Rose Pink said. When I am approached in a parking lot or on the street for money I now have a standard answer "I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable opening my wallet in front of strangers asking for money."
I don't say it in a disrespectful way, I just say it matter of fact. And by the way, it's true! I'm not comfortable doing that.

I choose to give to reputable charities instead and pray for those less fortunate.

Janna
 

vacationhopeful

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The word is "entitlement".

Welfare, disablility income, housing assistance, medical services, food stamps, etc. There is NO stigma with receiving these entitlements - food stamps, AFDC payment, social security payments are all done electronically (either checking accounts or credit card-like devices).

For example, in NJ any 18yo (or anyone else) walks in the county welfare office and states that they are homeless (have no place to sleep that night). They are entitled IMMEDIATELY to a government paid place to sleep, food, cash, medical assistance (including dental and eye) and will immediately lose all these freebies if they get a job. Most homeless shelters require their clients to vacate the premises from 8AM to 5 PM - as they can't work, they hang out (in parks, libraries, shopping malls, panhandle, shoplift, etc). If they are placed in a motel room, their rooms, with cable TV, are cleaned weekly and they do not have roommates. Both of these housing placements are billed per person at $1400-1800 per month to the state government. NJ's idea of more permanent housing is a program called "temporary rental assistance -TRA" where a privately owned apartment (house) is rented by the client (at regular market rate) who happily believe they now got their free apartment (utilties are paid by the state). The landlord can't disqualify the person due to lack of income and is hard pressed to figure out their prior rental history (like prison, mental hospitals, drug neighborhoods). Still, can't work as they lose their entitlements - but unlike the shelter arrangements, the landlord can't use the police to put a disruptive tenant or nonpaying tenant (disqualified) to the curb. The landlord must spend 8-12 weeks evicting them where legal aid is available to help them fight the landlord. If the landlord evicts, the tenant begins the cycle again at the county welfare office. Additionally, as most homeless lose their "stuff" and have no savings, NJ pays their security deposit and pays $1500 to buy furniture, pots & pans, towels, TVs, too.

As these individuals are HOMELESS (whether they are in a shelter, motel room or TRA), they go to the top of the priority list for longterm housing assistance (HUD/Section 8). Many in NJ spend almost 2 years under the state program which prevents working. When they move into the separately run Section 8 program and its different rules, they can work. Few choose to as they have learned how to get by going to food banks, working under the table (including illegal activities), and their peer group of friends is just like them - hanging out at all hours of the day or night.

Section 8 has limited funds. The priority classification system causes the limited income applicant who is working, living in the basement of a relative or living in too small of a unit, to wait 5+ years or more to receive any housing assistance. If they figure out the system, they too become homeless.

Landlords in NJ are disgusted. Neighborhoods are disgusted. Police departments are disgusted. Taxpayers should be disgusted, but as they are not party to the details of the costs and details and the past 5+ years of growth of these programs, ignorance is bliss.

And I can't believe NJ state government is doing all this without being mandated.
 

Fern Modena

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I don't give money to people on the street begging. Lucky for me, where I live now, I don't see any of that. When I lived in California I did.

Awhile back I was in Southern California, and I was appalled at the number of people who will walk up to you as you walk to your car in a parking lot, or try to wipe your window, etc. I merely look in their direction, but not at them, and say in a low, deep voice, "Just walk away, man. Walk away." They always do.

I don't feel bad about doing this. I decided years ago that I wanted to help people who were truly in need (as opposed to those who "beg" as a job). To that end I donate to the local soup kitchen and food bank. I also donate useful items to the women's shelter. You'd be surprised how much they value the old, but still working fridge I no longer needed.

As long as we are (sort of) on the subject, I also resent the checkers at the grocery store asking me to donate to this or that charity. Its like you are cheap if you won't donate a dollar or five to the store's charity. What I do is I say, "Sorry, no. I have my own charities."

Fern
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Me Neither.

I don't feel I need to give to panhandlers.
But most of the time I'll fling $1 to the poor unfortunate soul anyway as I mutter to myself There But For The Grace Of God Go I.

BTW, the flung $1 is frequently a gold-tone brass USA dollar coin, money with which (I take it) many of the beggars are semi-unfamiliar. They may well experience a feeling of letdown when they catch on that the shiny goldish disk is worth only $1. So it goes.

A few years ago, The Chief Of Staff took literally the hand-lettered sign held by a street beggar saying Will Work For $$$. She negotiated a deal for the person to do some work she needed done at another property -- a 2- or 3-day job. But the beggar quit before the job was finished, admitting that he earns more in a day of standing there holding his sign & accepting handouts than he does for actually, uh . . . er, ah, um, you know -- working.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

Tia

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We have beggers in some areas of my city. Some places the city has placed signs informing people in cars that hands outs are not the solution but to donate instead to charities . I know a friend who tried to employ someone with a sign to dig fence poles, but was told the same that the begger made more $ standing with the sign than the work.
 

DaveNV

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And then there is the question of just how "needy" some of these people really are:

Several months ago I was waiting at a stoplight near a grocery store in my town, and a guy standing there had a sign that said, "Homeless. Need money for food." I rolled down the window and told him I'd meet him at the grocery store and buy him lunch. He rudely said, "F*** no. Just give me the money instead." :eek:

I was pretty surprised by his attitude, so when the light changed, I drove away. I am not interested in contributing to someone who preys on generous people. And that makes it hard to take other panhandlers seriously.

Dave
 

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I carry some McDonald's 50 cent coupons in my purse and use those instead of money for those begging. If I see a seemingly young, healthy man, I don't give, but sometimes, in the subway, there's this elderly, dishelved lady that I always give to. I know, I know ----> Beags is being judgemental and has no way of knowing, true, but it's hard to turn away. I 'm not overly religious, but am reminded of "Give to everyone who begs from you" - and that's the rub for me.
As ilke BMWguy's experience, I've had the coupons refused, but not from the elderly lady.
It's the best that I can do.
B
 
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pjrose

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Many people in this situation do not take advantage of the shelters and other programs available (government, religious, private) because of the rules - no drugs, no alcohol, for example. They are unwilling or mentally unable to deal with the authority structure. Though I haven't actually done this, I've thought about giving them a bag of McD's hamburgers rather than money that might (likely will??) go to alcohol or drugs.

Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill has led to a lot of the problem; there are many people who supposedly could live on their own or in a smaller group setting, but didn't/couldn't take the meds that would help manage their problem, and ended up on the street.

That's not everyone, of course.
 

Beaglemom3

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Many people in this situation do not take advantage of the shelters and other programs available (government, religious, private) because of the rules - no drugs, no alcohol, for example. They are unwilling or mentally unable to deal with the authority structure. Though I haven't actually done this, I've thought about giving them a bag of McD's hamburgers rather than money that might (likely will??) go to alcohol or drugs.

Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill has led to a lot of the problem; there are many people who supposedly could live on their own or in a smaller group setting, but didn't/couldn't take the meds that would help manage their problem, and ended up on the street.

That's not everyone, of course.

Exactly ! When deinstitutionalization came about, many were discharged to the street.
In order to get state aid, you need an address, here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.
 
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vacationhopeful

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Several months ago, my ex-BF approached me about his old friend who was about 59 yo. He asked me how can he help his friend w/o actually allowing him to move into his house with him. His friend wanted him to send him money for food.

I suggested he get him some "gift" cards. The grocery chains and drug stores had gift cards (NJ does NOT allow alcohol or beer sales outside of liquer stores). The grocery chain has a small cafe and prepared food section, where the cards could also be used.

My ex-bf was meet with verbal abuse from this hungery friend also wanted cash only - when he received the gift cards in the mail. I had checked to make sure the gift cards could not be turned back into cash.

When 2 months later, my ex-bf visited him at the homeless shelter to bring him some clothes and to take him to lunch. He wanted to go out and eat steak and get a couple of drinks. No, drinking - just food - attitude back was to just give me the money. My ex asked the lady manning the desk at the shelter if they acccepted cash contributions? Sure, would you like a receipt? So he offered up $100 bill - his friend screamed, "that's my money!!! My ex said, please put the receipt in both of our names. Then, he left.

This friend was a senior design engineer at nuclear power plants from the mid 70's thru early 90's making almost $200,000 a year in his prime.

Those signs to not give money to panhandlers prevent several things:
Attacks and robbery of the donors.
Fighting between the panhandlers
Impending the flow of traffic
Trash
Illegal drug sales and prositution
Increased numbers of persons begging
Spread of disease - TB, hep B & C, lice, AIDS
 

Rose Pink

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I merely look in their direction, but not at them, and say in a low, deep voice, "Just walk away, man. Walk away." They always do.

Fern

Can you teach me how to talk like that? :D I have such a high voice that people on the phone ask to speak to my mother.
 

Rose Pink

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But most of the time I'll fling $1 to the poor unfortunate soul anyway as I mutter to myself There But For The Grace Of God Go I.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.

I used to feel the same way and also gave a buck. I don't anymore. As in other areas, we've been asked to donate to legitmate charites instead of to panhandlers. The same ones are on the same corners day after day, year after year. They have handlers who drop them off and pick them up. For as dependable as they are on their corners, I've often thought they could be dependable workers somewhere productive.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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In the Seattle area surveys have been done of the stoplight panhandlers. The emergency shelters, such as Union Gospel Mission, have the facilities to provide housing and assistance, but most of the people don't want to use those services - the shelters have rules and they don't want to have to accept rules and requirements.

I support the shelters. Our church is involved with other area churches in providing a short-term assistance program (including housing and meals) for homeless men. (We host the program in our facilities one month out of every year.)

I have zero guilt about not giving offering the panhandlers money. Financially I participate in ensuring that resources are available if they choose to use them. If they elect not to use available resources that's no longer my issue.

Alan - certainly it's a case of "There but for the grace of God go I." And accordingly I support the shelters and private assistance programs that focus on helping those who are in need and are willing to accept help. Were I in the same circumstances some time, that is what I would hope for.
 

Sandy VDH

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They did a local story on this when I lived in Dallas. Some of these pan handlers make 40K a year holding a sign at the traffic light. In areas they fight over the best corners. Many don't want real work or food. They want your money.

It gets harder and harder for me to give when I find I can't validare their needs, nor trust that they really need the assistance. I have given up giving directly and provide the local food basket or community services funds directly instead. At least I know it has a better chance of being used the way I expect it too.
 

vacationhopeful

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I agree with Sandy Lovell about giving as I have seen individuals sell the food they receive from local food banks to buy drugs. Not just once or twice, but repeatly ... going from one to another food banks in different towns. And just like a job, at 8:45 AM on Tues and Thurs. I wish for soup kitchens as it is harder to convert a plate of food into an illegal drug purchase.

And yes, Philadelphia has "professional" and well paid panhandlers too. Drove nice cars to their "office" and found they got more money in the rain and very cold weather. And clothing was just as important to them as any 3-piece suit is to a lawyer. Tax free, too.
 
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AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Willingness Is The Key.

I support the shelters and private assistance programs that focus on helping those who are in need and are willing to accept help.
That is the most vexing thing about alcoholism & drug addiction & certain forms of mental illness -- that help is available, but only to those who want help & are willing to accept it.

For too many, the alcoholism & the drug addiction & the mental illness work like diseases that tell those suffering that they don't have a disease.

Those still suffering who do not want help cannot be helped.

Now & then hitting bottom will push some of those still suffering over into willingness.

But for some, those who are truly unfortunate, the bottom is death.

And -- yes -- There But For The Grace Of God Go I.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

UWSurfer

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I'm frequently at the beach mornings before work in a section between Venice and the Santa Monica Pier. There you will see a fair number of homeless who fall into three categories: those who are truely down on their luck, those who are mentally ill and those who are our resident homeless, that is the same people who have an existence there during the day year round. Some of these folks disappear from the scene, but most just continue to show up each day to occupy their time and look for handouts.

I've not had much contact recently, but I used to get hit up for money all the time in those beach parking lots as I changed from my wetsuit into my work clothes. With a very rare exception I would reply I don't give out money, but I have some cereal bars here if you are hungry. Those who are truely hungry accept the bars. The others usually curse and continue on.

I suspect I've simply become better at presenting body language and other outward signs which indicate not to come up to me, as I don't think I've even been aproached more than twice over the past 12 months.
 

laura1957

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I agree with Sandy Lovell about giving as I have seen individuals sell the food they receive from local food banks to buy drugs. Not just once or twice, but repeatly ... going from one to another food banks in different towns. And just like a job, at 8:45 AM on Tues and Thurs. I wish for soup kitchens as it is harder to convert a plate of food into an illegal drug purchase.

And yes, Philadelphia has "professional" and well paid panhandlers too. Drove nice cars to their "office" and found they got more money in the rain and very cold weather. And clothing was just as important to them as any 3-piece suit is to a lawyer. Tax free, too.


There was a news story from the Hampton Roads area on TV last year or the year before where some of the panhandlers were followed to their cars at the end of their "shift". In some cases they had VERY nice, new cars - it was kind of eye-opening. Right here where I live we don't have this problem - the public panhandling. When we walk the boardwalk in Ocean City as least the "beggars" are all playing instruments for donations - then we usually chip in a few dollars.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Street Performers Aren't The Same As Straight-Out Beggars.

When we walk the boardwalk in Ocean City as least the "beggars" are all playing instruments for donations - then we usually chip in a few dollars.
Shux, at least the street buskers are working for their tips & handouts -- not completely the same as just standing there mooching for nothing.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

grest

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I carry some McDonald's 50 cent coupons in my purse and use those instead of money for those begging. If I see a seemingly young, healthy man, I don't give, but sometimes, in the subway, there's this elderly, dishelved lady that I always give to. I know, I know ----> Beags is being judgemental and has no way of knowing, true, but it's hard to turn away. I 'm not overly religious, but am reminded of "Give to everyone who begs from you" - and that's the rub for me.
As ilke BMWguy's experience, I've had the coupons refused, but not from the elderly lady.
It's the best that I can do.
B

A couple of times recently we've had people come up to us begging for money to eat. We have taken them to a nearby restaurant and paid for them to have a meal. Each time they said how appreciative they were. I still don't know if they really wanted food, but that's what they asked for and it seemed like the right thing to do. I will not hand money over to a panhandler, of which there are so many!!
Connie
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Money Is Fungible.

I still don't know if they really wanted food, but that's what they asked for and it seemed like the right thing to do.
Look at it this way --

Every dollar the bums don't need to spend on hamburgers is another dollar they've got toward their next bottle of Mad Dog.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 
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pcgirl54

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When we were in San Francisco earlier this year I was amazed at how many people beg from the Wharf area to Market street. I have never seen anything like it. One tourist handed over a large bag of takeout food to someone in need on the wharf area. It made me want to cry and I thought that was a good way to help.

Some of them were in wheelchairs with signs that said need money for drugs or booze. Who knows if they really were disabled but they were filthy.

We were approached many times in 3 days. We then offered to buy food for a man and woman on the street and it was a little unnerving since they were so very demanding. It caught me off guard and made me wish I kept walking past them.



RosePink

Sad but I would tell your son not to give strangers a ride as one never knows if they will turn around and accuse him of a crime himself.
 

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Shux, at least the street buskers are working for their tips & handouts -- not completely the same as just standing there mooching for nothing.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​



Oh I know - that is why we don't mind throwing a couple bucks in the "hat"
 
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