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Responses to Panhandling


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#1 Marilyn

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:52 AM

This morning I was scolded for ignoring a request for money. When the panhandler asked "for just enough money for bus fare," I remembered that two days ago she was saying she "ran out of gas, it's an emergency to get my car started." As I was trying to figure this out, she scolded me for ignoring her.

After one year of living on Yates and Quadra, I estimate that her request was no. 1,000. So of course I have become hardened. In addition to panhandlers, there are other organizations who approach and hand out material, all good causes. It's rare to be able to walk down Yates between Quadra and Vancouver without someone jumping out in front with a request.

I've tried putting my hand up like a stop signal when someone jumps out in front of me but that really gets them angry.
I'm wondering what is a good response?

The truth is I don't have any extra cash, I'm on a strict budget. I just got tired of saying that.

#2 Caramia

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 11:08 AM

My advice Marilyn is a smile if you can muster one, and a "Sorry, good luck to you though" and move on. If someone is aggressive or won't take no for an answer, that's on them, not you. There are two panhandlers downtown who are so aggressive that I get really annoyed. Both clearly have a mental illness. In one case, I asked her her name, once, and now every time she approaches me I say "Donna, I've asked you not to ask me for money anymore, I remember your face, could you try to remember mine?" She responds really well to that. The other, I just say "don't ask me for money" as soon as he approaches. Most panhandlers do eventually start to recognize the local, fellow poor people, and eventually stop asking them.

Of course there are some people who I still find change for. The ones who brighten my day, and make me smile. Mind you, these are people I'd happily buy a beer for or sit with awhile.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#3 yodsaker

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 12:37 PM

I've got stuff to do and bills to pay so 98% of the time I don't break stride and don't engage. Sometimes I will give to an older person who has fallen through the cracks or is disabled. I make up my mind at the time.
Healthy 20-somethings like the lug camped in front of McD these days? Uh-uh.

#4 Caramia

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 01:20 PM

The challenge I find is to remember that the people sitting on the street are also fellow humans, and spare time for a smile or greeting, just something to say "This is still a small enough town, no one is invisible."

Sometimes when I am feeling thin-skinned and fragile, or frustrated with life, or stressed out about time, I really cannot manage even that. Being approached every half a block starts to feel like an intrusion, or even a threat. When I am relaxed, joyful, and robust, I actually enjoy the interaction. There are days where I stride down the street singing, and when I give, be it a smile and good wish, or a quarter from my pocket, it isn't about who the person I'm giving to is, or how deserving they are. It is more about me and my place in the stream of life. And how delightful when I get a positive reply back! "Keep smiling sister" - and I do!

If we were astrologists we could blame it all on the planets. Saturn has his restrictive grip on me today, I contract, and look suspiciously at the world. Tomorrow belongs to Jupiter; generous, magnanimous, expansive.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#5 Marilyn

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 01:29 PM

Caramia,
You are good natured!

My dog makes people smile, even the most desperate looking street person.

I've been around here for a year so most of the regulars know me and leave me alone. It's the new people just starting to come around who keep asking. And with times getting harder, I expect more of them.

As for the older panhandlers, aren't they getting their $1,000./mo old age security? Even prisoners get that.

#6 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 03:35 PM

This morning I was scolded for ignoring a request for money.

( snip - clip by ted... )

I've tried putting my hand up like a stop signal when someone jumps out in front of me but that really gets them angry.
I'm wondering what is a good response?

The truth is I don't have any extra cash, I'm on a strict budget. I just got tired of saying that.



------ I used to panhandle ------------

to be realistic , the focus is on the money , and not what you say or said ...!
( sure I'd remember some people , and I'd act nicer to them ) but what ever


A "Good Response" ...?????????

Fight with & Hastel the Government on all levels ... They are supposed to be our employee's. We need to make them ACCOUNTABLE of the lives of all of the Province's population...!

----- Dear Marilyn.

We both pay Tax's , so why do we have to PAY AGAIN for something that is clearly the responsibility of the Government...?

What are they doing with the Money we gave them ( the Gov & street addicted ) ...?
The Government "CRACK" seems to be sport's arena's , Olympics, and Convention Center's .
They spend million's of dollar's a year in advertising, TRY-ING TO MAKE THEM SELVES FEEL GOOD ...!

so like real crack-addict's , they try to make YOU feel good about giving THEM money ...!
and like crack-addict's , the Gov takes more of your money while actually doing less work.
And, like crack addict's , the Gov finds EXCUSSES why they are no longer able to do the work , that they should be a doing .


-------- The proper response ...? ------- Fight the Power ---------

and take care of yourself first ...!

( sometimes , people fallow your example )

ie: a smile , and a few kind words , are worth more than money ...!
( easy to find many examples/reasons , of and for that every Nov-11th )

:{-


ted...

#7 Newlywednotnearlydead

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:19 PM

This morning I was scolded for ignoring a request for money. When the panhandler asked "for just enough money for bus fare," I remembered that two days ago she was saying she "ran out of gas, it's an emergency to get my car started." As I was trying to figure this out, she scolded me for ignoring her.


I'm a decent sized 6'2 guy, so not a lot of panhandlers scold me. But I'm always amazed when I see aggressive panhandling downtown. I had a bit of a run-in with one tall, skinny guy with a big beard who lurched at me very aggressively, jabbering somewhat incoherently demanding money as I walked past. I quickly spun around at him in full fight-or-flight mode ready to punch him out and he quickly staggered away swearing at me. But seriously, what do some of these folks expect? When you unexpectly invade someone's personal space, you have the potential to really set people off. I wonder what the legal issues are about that, I've never really looked into the rules around self-defense in BC.

That's been about the only issue I've ever had with panhandlers, most people give their pitch and I'll say "sorry, not today" and keep walking. I never give anyone money because I'm pretty sure it ends up spent on cigarettes, booze and smack. I'm downtown a fair bit and many of the downtown regulars don't even ask anymore. Instead of tossing change to the panhandlers, I give money to the food bank so I know the money is being spent properly. When I've been asked for money when heading into a coffee shop, I've occasionally offered to buy someone a muffin or coffee, but never been taken up on it, they've always asked for cash...

#8 Caramia

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:44 PM

The fellow you described sounds like one of the two I was talking about. There are really only 3-4 "aggressive" panhandlers downtown but between them they hit up hundreds of people a day. The guy you describe is someone who imo has a visible mental illness. He needs medical help and supervision. I've seen both of them try to panhandle off other panhandlers. At that point I think expecting any kind of discretion is beyond what is possible for them.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#9 Chris J

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 01:14 PM

Sounds like Danimal. He can seem really aggressive, but he's a good guy basically, if we've thinking of the same person. There's someone who does not fit into the traditional methods of 'helping' that is offered to people on the street.

#10 Chris J

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 01:24 PM

BTW, when I'm walking down the street and don't have money to give, I make eye contact and say 'sorry'. Granted, it's obvious by looking ta me that I don't have a lot of money, so I don't get people hassling me beyond that.
It's a dilemma. It can be uncomfortable to have to deal with every day, but I think we should have twice as many panhandlers to push people out of their comfort zones and into reality; the reality of a collapsing system and a HUGE poverty problem that we could all be doing more about.

#11 Caramia

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 03:52 PM

I don't agree on that part about wishing there were twice as many. I think panhandling is one of the least effective means of bringing social issues to people's attention. If anything, it just makes people more likely to move towards the "more cops please' side of the coin.

For women especially it can be extremely intimidating. Take Danimal for instance. I've got no fear of street people, or poor people, but like many women (1/3 if you believe the statistics) I've experienced being overpowered by men for sexual reasons. The inability of some of the men who panhandle to understand the effect that it has when they come up on a woman suddenly, get within a few inches of them and start making demands, is a real problem. If I'm feeling a little on the fragile side that day, it can really alter my mood.

Consider, if he hits up 60 people in an hour (about right for how he works the street), 30 of them women, then about 10 women an hour are women who have been victims of male abuse. Say only half of those are feeling easily triggered that day. In an 8 hour day he's still ****ed with the sense of security of 40 women.

Like I said, I don't think of myself as someone who walks the world in fear - in fact most of the time I think I am pretty secure on the streets of Victoria. But he's gotten my adrenaline up before, for sure, often enough that when I see him coming I tell him not to ask me for change. No smile, no "sorry dude, good luck." He may be the gentlest guy in the world, but you tell your instincts that when a big guy like that is lurching towards you, or pinning you up against a building. And to be quite honest, if I could arrange for his style of panhandling to be illegal, I would.

I think sometimes we forget in protecting the humanity of the poor, that there are vulnerable people walking the streets too.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#12 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 04:16 PM

^ Thank you, Caramia. Well said.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#13 Marilyn

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 12:15 PM

I was cornered once on Broad Street. Rushing home after buying a birthday gift, I passed three tall guys in a huddle. They rushed up to me until they had me leaning against a wall and they kept saying that they were desperate and hungry. At that point, I didn't care about them, I just wanted to get away.

They looked physically fit enough to be able to work at something, anything if they were that desperate. Maybe their minds were damaged beyond being employable, I don't know.

#14 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 02:10 PM

I don't agree on that

( sorry snip - snip ) not to say the stuff I cut off wasn't good , because it was...


And to be quite honest, if I could arrange for his style of panhandling to be illegal, I would.

I think sometimes we forget in protecting the humanity of the poor, that there are vulnerable people walking the streets too.



------ There used to be a Pan-handler's Code of Ethics -----

I'm not sure who created it , but it addressed those type of issues.

It wasn't a "Law" , it was something created by the street for the street ...
( perhaps TAPS )

any-ways a lot of panhandlers are NOT "un-ethical" in their approach .

--- BC Liberal's ....? ---- invented a law called the "Safe-Street's Act"

It can't be enforced basically because it a violation of human-rights , and a example of the kind of thinking (coming up with a final-solution) our modern society is trying to avoid .

;{-


--------- Basically , My bottom line is this ----------

You already paid your Tax's , so why do have to pay more when you hit the streets ...?????

Obviously Government has failed to spend YOUR MONEY wisely...

It has set out to (on Purus) to put people onto the streets...!
(ok, so it happened by accident because of their blind-sighted rage against poor people)
what ever , buget-cutting , to SAVE A BUCK OR TWO , forced people onto the streets...!!!!!

Let's find & support creative ways , so begging doesn't look like begging and you don't have to learn how to play guitar , sing , or dance like Mr Bo-Jangles ...!

;{-

the Street-Newz Paper , DVBA and their Street Sweeper's , and a few Sandwich-Boards , are a good start...! What's needed is more thinking ... Your thinking ...

We need 1,500 new idea's ...!!!!!!!!!! ( we got 3 so far that seem to be working )


--- ted... ( beyond voting , is working with your new city council )

ie: go to some of their OPEN public meetings.
(especially when your good idea's hit deaf ears )


.

#15 yodsaker

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 04:32 PM

I was cornered once on Broad Street. Rushing home after buying a birthday gift, I passed three tall guys in a huddle. They rushed up to me until they had me leaning against a wall and they kept saying that they were desperate and hungry. At that point, I didn't care about them, I just wanted to get away.

They looked physically fit enough to be able to work at something, anything if they were that desperate. Maybe their minds were damaged beyond being employable, I don't know.


That can be scary!
Friend of mine was panhandled by two guys beside the Capitol 6 one day and he said, "Get a job" or something like that. They jumped him and broke his nose and one rib.

#16 Newlywednotnearlydead

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:24 AM

As Caramia said, aggressive behavior by a few mentally ill or just plain stupid folks contributes anti-homeless sentiment. I think it would be totally understandable for anyone who experienced harassment like Marilyn did to want to see a police crackdown downtown. I would think that the homeless folks who largely live and and let live would want to see the troublemakers dealt with just as much as everyone else.

#17 LJ

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 03:30 AM

I have never felt intimidated by a panhandler but I have been very annoyed by several.

I never give then a dime (big suprise eh?) but on more than one occaision I have offerred food which has been immediately rejected. If nobody gave them anything anytime they wouldn't be there.

Before food banks existed did you see starving dead people on the street? Me neither.

All food banks have done is allowed people to spend more money on cigs, booze, drugs, none of which are a benefit to your existance.

Establish treatment centers for drug abuse, make people work for their welfare so that they can feel good about themselves, put those that require it into mental institutions, and incarcerate those that refuse treatment and commit crimes. End of Rant.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#18 ted - 3 - dots

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:18 AM

I have never felt intimidated by a panhandler but I have been very annoyed by several.

(snip - snip )

Before food banks existed did you see starving dead people on the street? Me neither.

All food banks have done is allowed people to spend more money on cigs, booze, drugs, none of which are a benefit to your existance.

Establish treatment centers for drug abuse, make people work for their welfare so that they can feel good about themselves, put those that require it into mental institutions, and incarcerate those that refuse treatment and commit crimes. End of Rant.



-------- Come on ..! that's totally unfair

You make it sound like the "food-banks" were invented under THE FEILD OF DREAMS mentality... ( ie: just build it , and they will come...? )

You need to talk to Brent-Palmer @ the Mustard-Seed ( and get yourself an education on the history of this issue ) ...!

I know working families who use the food-bank ,,, are they on crack ...???????????

My buddy Deb , who works 2 jobs just to pay rent ...! had to pay extra-school fee's for her two kids... That plus clothes, wipped her out ...! ( so is she on crack , smoking & drinking ...? ) no, she goes to the food-bank .


--------- Jail ...? --------------

if Jail's was a solution as you suggest above , then there'd be a line up of people waiting to get in ....!

But there is no line up for that ,,, is there ...! ( talk to legal-aid )
I'm sure another education is waiting there for you too .

------- Mental Hospitals ....????????? ------------

How quickly we forget about the reason's behind putting people back-out into the community. ( talk to the mental-health workers about the "Institutionalization" vs "Deinstitutionization" of mental patients )

I'm sure they tell you about how people deteriorated while in their custody, and how that whole story turns around when they are released into our community...!

Again , you'll find out that the supports mechanism was put in place , prior to the problems you see on the streets ...!!!!!!!!!!!
( it was the dismantling of those services , that made the problem what it is today ) ...!


---------- Lastly Your insults -----------

less than 4% of the street population are , is as you ex-plane above , saving money on food , so it can be converted into cig's & booze etc...

so really , your insulting more than half of the food-banks user's ,
just because you can't see them. (ie: NOT , up-front & in your face ) but there they are...!


ted... ( so really, how about a re-write )
after you learn about the history of Food-Banks , and something about their current users

.... ( especially those who you don't see )

;{-

.

#19 Caramia

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:26 AM

LJ without food banks and soup kitchens more people would be dying, malnutrition leads to all kinds of secondary diseases. And no, they wouldn't be dying in the streets. They would be dying in the hospital, after many visits and stays, all of which you get to help pay for.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#20 Chris J

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:07 PM

It always surprises me when I hear people talk about panhandlers never accept food. I'm not saying that isn't your experience, but it certainly isn't mine. What are you offering them? No, that doesn't matter, because I meet people so hungry it doesnt matter what I offer.
I just find that odd.
I was half-kidding when I said there should be more panhandlers. The sad truth is that most people do not question what is wrong with our society when they see so many homeless people, they ask what is wrong with that person, or why is there not more police.
I understand that people get intimidated, but more police will not solve the problem when we live in a society that is dumping people onto the street.
Maybe it would be safer for everyone if on losing your job, or suffering an illness or injury or trauma that takes you out of the workforce, you'd go straight to prison.
Half kidding that I am, given the logic that more police will solve these issue on the street, you might as well get the police/prison industry involved much earlier, so that we don't have to see the poverty and pain.

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