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    12 Responses to change

    1. Looks like a young healthy fella. I always want to help people like that get a job, when I see em on the streets. I never do it though.

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    2. @dieAntagonista: I yell at those people to get jobs and stop begging. It pisses me off.

      The area I’m from has a huge population of 20 and unders who hang around and beg for money… many of which go home to mommy and daddy for dinner in the evening. My sister paid for her heroine addiction panhandling… which is just unbelievable to me.

      We didn’t grow up in the same households. She always had a roof over her head where as living with my mother, I actually experienced homelessness and was fed for brief periods of time via salvation army and food stamps. We never begged. My parents always worked, even if it was manual labor for food or cash.

      The fact that there are so many people who CHOOSE to beg rather than put in a day of real work really pisses me off… and then they want me to give them money from my pocket that I worked for when I’m already paying taxes that help fund the the various services the state is providing them? No thanks.

      I know that there are some that are on the streets who are there because they don’t have a choice. I have offered aid to a few of these people… one I used to push on a regular basis in his wheelchair over to the church that gave out lunch each day. He was one of those forgotten veterans. I still won’t give them money though.

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    3. @outofocus:

      That’s intense.I can relate to your story. My family was extremely poor at one point as well. But there was always a way to survive without begging.

      Yea well, when drugs are involved the story changes a little. Drugs are the reason why I never help those people, because you never know right. But if you have ever been addicted to any thing, whether it’s nicotine or caffeine, you know how hard it is to quit. So, even though I have never been a drug addict I do understand that it’s way harder for those.
      But just like you said, there are so many who appear to make a clear choice to beg. Those are the people I feel most inclined to help. I know it’s strange, but I’m assuming for whatever reason, that those people don’t realize how simple it is to solve most of their problems. Of course there are many who are just simply lazy, but I’m certain there are many who are confused and don’t know any better.
      I think it’s awesome of you that you helped that guy.

      Sometimes I fantasize that I could take a hooker home with me, let her clean up, give her respectable looking clothes and help her get a real job.

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    4. with respect to your personal experiences with this issue, the problem is that you can’t put a uniform face on all those people. Rather, there isn’t one solution (currently within our society) that will fix the overall problem that causes this phenomenon.
      I have less to relate to this in terms of background, due to my suburban upbringing and “whitebread” home-life. I didn’t so much as drink til i was a sophomore in college (it would have been freshman year, but I had made a bet to last till i was legal for a plane ticket)
      My reason for chiming in is that due to a move to a different state, PLUS the economic downturn just before the crash, i was unemployed for a chunk of time (a few months) during this time, only two things kept me from turning into a panhandler: A) my upbringing- and the hardwiring i had gotten about pride, responsibility and good old fashioned catholic guilt, and B) my friends.
      In other words- I moved back home from another state, and had to crash on other people’s couches for nearly two months (in a kind of unspoken rotation) until I broke through the very time consuming bureaucracy of getting hired anywhere. Even fast food places were giving me the “don’t call us- we’ll call you routine”

      tl;dr: as much as I’d like to shake those people who have given up and gone to panhandling, i can’t tell them to just go “get a job.” It’s legitimately difficult to go get a job when starting from the bottom- energy put into getting paid and fed *now* is a temptation I can’t mock or berate someone for too harshly- unless I personally offered them a job and they turned it down. . .

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    5. @elzarcothepale: You’re forgetting that there are programs that will help people get the bare essentials (at least in CA) and job training/placement. I’m currently in a position that I may be having to take advantage of all the taxes I’ve paid over the years because of how corrupt the worker’s compensation system is in the state of California.

      There is almost no excuse for panhandling for any length of time (i did it to get money to make a call when i was 13, and to get bus fare but i was deeply embarrassed). There are panhandlers in SF that have been doing it for 30 years. The city is actually discussing what to do for these guys who are getting old and need medical care. They have been taking FREE money all these years and are going to get FREE medical care as a result of it because people feel sorry for them. The people who have been handing them change as well as the people who refuse will be footing the bill for that medical care.

      I have not blanket judged all the people on the street but even still, it does not change the fact that the majority of beggars are capable of working to some degree. They are capable of earning what they currently get for free.

      Obviously there is something wrong that this is becoming more and more common to see. What that issue is exactly, I don’t know but it needs to be attended to and solved. The lack of pride and drive is deeply disturbing… that fact that it seems to be turning into some sort of culture… Meh.

      The people who hold signs work together. They plan out the corners they’ll be working at and they swap signs from time to time. They put time and effort into what they’re doing… instead of helping society by being a useful participant, they choose to work together to help themselves… off the grid.

      I couched surfed for almost four years as a teen… a few months is like a slumber party. 😉 Seriously though, I’m glad you got it sorted. I was without a job for a year in a half after 9-11 when no one else could find a job either. I suspect the next year is going to be very similar for a great many people.

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    6. @elzarcothepale: You have a ridiculously facile view of homelessness yourself. Most of those people are either there because of drugs or they get there, and get into heroin/crack/whatever because it’s such a fundamental part of homeless culture.

      Hard work is one thing. Being able to hold a job and handle finances is a learned skill. If you ended up on the streets and started smoking cracks, you wouldn’t know how to hold a job even if you wanted to (and most of these people don’t seem to).

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    7. *crack; the point I’m making is that “normal” life is so alien to people who’ve been on the streets for years is not even something those people think about, or would consider. There really is a homeless culture with homeless values. It’s its own little insular worldview.

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    8. SSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTHEEEEEEEEEEFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

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    9. I only give money if it looks like they can’t work. Beyond that I have no guilt and actually quietly laugh at how big of screw up these kids are.

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    10. @Caio:
      oh, i completely agree that i have about as much insight into homeless culture as i do into being raised black- i wasn’t pretending otherwise. That’s almost what i was trying to say about the idea of a “solution” to sort people out- the programs already in place are clearly meant for people closer to my, or perhaps more accurately Outofocus’, situation- people falling down from the system, but fully socialized to fit back into place once they get their shit in order. With this other culture, the solution would have to be tailored almost like a detox or complete social re-education.
      @outofocus: yeah- luckily all my friends have done well for themselves and the couches were very comfortable.

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    11. @Caio: I agree with you. Those people need something more. I’m not even sure that they should be required to fit back into “normal” life. There should be alternate options that allow them to be functional without trying to force them to adapt to a situation that may never feel natural to them again.

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