Buddy, Can You Spare 50 Cents? How About $10, Then?

Dallas officials will have their hands full cracking down on panhandlers and other miscreants downtown. Visiting the 1400 block of Main yesterday, I had to park on the street twice–the first time the meter ate a bunch of change without giving up any time at all–before being buttonholed for dough twice inside 50 yards. One guy pounded on the driver’s-side window, adopted a pitiful expression like from that “Scream” painting and begged, “Please help me. I’m hungry!” It ain’t nearly as bad here as San Francisco in the ’80s; a group of bums there liked to break into my daughter’s parked car and sleep in it overnight. But it doesn’t exactly make you eager to “find your D Spot” again anytime soon.

Comments

  • Should the police downtown tasked with enforcing these “quality of life” laws wear something that identifies them as such?

    Perhaps a smiley face armband?

  • My last visit to the Farmer’s Market was very sad, people streaming out of The Bridge and into the marketplace at about 10am. The immediate 4 blocks around the area were thick with people living out of bags. I was with a large group of school aged kids – could see the parent’s faces saying “won’t be back”.

  • All that money spent on The Bridge could have bought a boat load of bus tickets to some other state. Or better yet, federal district.

  • yeah, right

    miscreants? Really? Come on, Glenn.

  • yeah, right

    I’ve had trouble with those meters eating my change too. Maybe you should be angry at the folks who run those meters instead of the folks who are challenged to fit into our society.

  • Mr. Dobalina

    I’ve never understood why we put homeless shelters near downtown. I know the reasoning is probably something like “because that’s where the homeless are,” but I think that the shelters would be just as effective a little farther away.

    There have definitely been more homeless people milling around downtown since the homeless shelter opened over near City Hall. It doesn’t exactly make me eager to go to any of the stores or restaurants down there.

  • Tom

    This issue involved two distinct groups of people.
    Group A are those who are truly homeless and need assistance. I’m proud of the efforts the city has made to build The Bridge for this purpose. Sending them away with a bus ticket isn’t the answer.
    Group B are those who are just looking to make an easy buck. We need the extra officers to sweep them away, and stronger regulations to punish them — and those who give them money.

  • yeah, right

    Yes, let’s punish people who want to help beggers. Go Dallas.

  • Gwyon

    Why is it against the law to ask someone for money?

  • yeah, right

    beggars. Maybe Dallas should help poor spellers too.

  • Realist

    yeah, right:

    Beggars are responsible for crime, vandalism, and blight. They reduce property values and scare off consumers (as noted above) — which cause businesses to fail, further reducing tax receipts.

    If you want to play the humanitarian, why don’t you hand out flyers with your home address and invite these benighted beggars to stay at your house?

  • Steve

    I work downtown and take walks daily just to get away from my desk. I’ve developed a sophisticated technique for dealing with panhandlers.

    When asked for money:
    Step 1: Say the word “No” or occasionally “Yes”.
    Step 2: Walk away.

    PS: Dallas won’t be much of a city until its residents stop being such pu**ies.

  • Glenn Hunter

    Gwyon: I’d like you to send me $10 or $20 sometime this afternoon. If you don’t send it today, I’ll remind you about it again tomorrow and, if you continue to forget, the day after that. I’m doing this because you have money, I don’t have any money, and I would like for you to give me some of your money. Don’t forget, now.

  • Gwyon

    And?

  • Puddin’Tane

    The solution to most of this is a very hard core approach that most people would agree with privately, but no one wants to publicly admit to because it boarders on Nazism and everything but PC.

    The portion of “homeless” that are determined to be mentally ill would be rounded up, taken into custody and placed in state run institutions. For families who refuse to take charge of their own, the decision would be made for them- without recourse. Absolutely no mentally ill person would be allowed to roam the streets.(Expect a flurry of jokes on this one.)

    The next portion of homeless, that are able bodied, would also be rounded up and be required to participate in a sweat equity works and education program. NO free food, clothing or shelter unless they work. A time limit and graduation from the program would be established and expectation set for independence. (Yes, I know there are some charity groups that offer similar programs but I’m not talking options to participation here.)

    The very small remaining- homeless with children or physically challenged, would also be directed into a required work and education program.

    The business community could participate by offering internships or apprenticeships for the works and education program. Private-Public cooperation is demanded and not a question of “if”.

    If we can piss away money on Wall Street and bail-outs then we have the money to handle this.

    And before anyone starts in on a lack of money: the State of Texas has a $10.7 billion budget surplus.

  • LakeWWWooder

    Why do people freak when asked for money on the street? It’s life in the big city – just say “o.k.”, “no” or “hey, man – good luck” after sizing up the beggar. Sometimes people shut themselves off when they might actually learn something from another human being. Have you never met or been friends with anyone ‘below your station’?

  • yeah, right

    I can’t believe we’re having this conversation in the middle of what is probably the worst recession this country has had in our lifetimes.

    Puddin’ Tane is right about the problem with the mentally ill, I believe Ronald Reagan is responsible for reducing benefits for those folks.

    Glenn, maybe we can extend your gated community to give you a safe corridor through society.

  • While it might be annoying to be asked repeatedly/on a daily basis for spare change by a homeless person, like Steve said, it’s not that big of a deal to say “no” and keep walking. Some other things that are annoying: the oppressive August heat in Dallas, the Texas Rangers, the intersection at the frontage road of Stemmons and Field Street, Terrell Owens. But just because something is annoying to you doesn’t mean there should be private security squads handing out citations over it. I always remember that the annoyance I feel is probably very slight compared to what it would feel like if I didn’t have a home and warm bed and good meal to go home to at the end of the day.

  • John M

    @Steve

    I’ve found the most effective method is just to pretend they are completely invisible, don’t offer any sort of response that you can hear them, just keep walking, don’t look at them, don’t acknowledge them and don’t engage them in any way. Every once in awhile they get pissed off that you are ignore them but in general it works.

  • Puddin’Tane

    Our current economy has nothing to do it because this problem has been around for quite a while.

    It was tough to say it, but it really is going to take a boot strap approach for the cure.

  • publicnewssense

    Open a movie theater downtown. Offer discounts to people who have no visible means of support. Once they’re inside, lock the doors, then make them watch Dallas City Council meetings on the big screen.

  • G$$

    I guess I don’t understand the concept, the poor are put downtown and near downtown and now they are not wanted there? So, the poor will be fined/arrested? They have no money and the jail can’t fit them all. What are you going to do with them???

  • Mike

    Dear Trey Garrison,

    Put The Fountainhead back on the shelf. Fifth period is starting.

  • Obama’s Seat

    Only the homeless are truly free, and that can be rather costly.

  • PR

    amandacobra,

    I agree it is easy to just say “no.”

    What is not easy is to say “no” and have them follow you for 30 yards continuing to beg, or having a child with you who is scared because the guy uses filthy language, or dealing with the smell of stale alcohol, or homeless folks blocking your path, or being yelled at, or seeing a homeless guy take a whiz by a building — get the idea?

    Since you consider homeless begging (and the other social problems it causes) just an annoyance, then I assume you think code enforcement should be stopped as well, right?

    You would be OK with your neighbors if they never mowed their yard, left Christmas decorations up year round, played loud music, parked their cars in the yards — or the businesses near your neighborhood never cleaned their property, put up gigantic signs and never made repairs to broken windows.

    Government does have an obligation to protect its citizens not just from crime but also the causes of crime — and letting what you consider to be petty annoyances to continue unchecked would increase crime.

    I wonder how many families and seniors would consider coming to downtown to shop and eat if they didn’t have to deal with homeless begging.

  • I also work downtown, and the panhandlers don’t bother me. What bothers me are the “My car ran out of gas/I just need money for the train – look, I have an ID” scam artists who insist on weaving a 15 minute tale of woe prior to asking me for change. I give change away almost everyday, but only to those who directly ask me if I have any to spare.

  • Gwyon

    PR: It takes an exceptionally sheltered nobleman to live in such fear.

  • Puddin’Tane

    Force them watch that bad indy comedy? Non stop, week after week? Free Earl Campbell hotlinks and Cactus Juice too?

    I’m sure after that torture there’d be a stream of them headed directly to the nearest Texas Workforce Commission office begging for anything available in order to avoid going back.

    There ya go!

  • Drew

    What a compassionate bunch on here – as usual.

    Yes, there are many homeless who have mental health issues that may have contributed to them being homeless or vice versa.

    Yes, there are others who are scam artists, possibly not homeless, and if they are, obviously choose to be homeless for whatever reason.

    HOWEVER

    There are plenty on the street, especially now (thank you for pointing that out yeah right). Where is the compassion for those who are on the street through no fault of their own or because they made a few poor choices and are trying to do something about it?

    I’ll bet any of you (Glenn included) who want to pull the covers over their head and pretend the homeless don’t exist would sing a much different song if they lost their job, had no savings, no family or friends to turn to, and ended up homeless as well.

    You don’t have to give people money on the street every day just because they ask for it, but good god, is there absolutely not one ounce of compassion left in people anymore? How sad is that?

    It wasn’t that long ago that I gave $5 to a guy who said he just wanted to buy some beer. He was honest and I knew what he was going to do with it. If he said he wanted money to buy crack, that’s a different story, but honesty won the day.

  • SB

    @Gwyon:

    A true progressive through and through. You’re only civilized if you “appreciate” things that suck.

  • Steve

    @ PR: “Since you consider homeless begging … an annoyance, then I assume you think code enforcement should be stopped as well, right?”

    Um, no.

    “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “set up a straw man,” one describes a position that superficially resembles an opponent’s actual view, yet is easier to refute. Then, one attributes that position to the opponent.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

  • Brett

    If you’ve ever wondered why Dallas has been in a downward spiral since the mid 90’s, just look at some of the comments here saying it’s no big deal, just life in the city etc. Until this city is comprised of people who have the backbone to be politically incorrect and say enough is enough, Dallas will continue it’s inevitable march towards being the new Detroit.

  • PR –

    As a kid my mom used to take me downtown to the museum and even if a homeless person was particularly aggressive, she explained to me that they probably had mental issues and weren’t going to hurt me. And really, panhandling doesn’t really bother me too much. I agree with towski about the annoying long winded stories. If you’re gonna beg, make it punchy, short and sweet.

    Clearly it’s a big jump from “this ticketing pandhandlers thing is a waste of time” to “don’t enforce any city codes” but to answer your questions in order:

    If I got so annoyed with the unmowed lawn that I couldn’t stand it, I would cut it myself.

    I would think it was kind of quirky and potentially cute if my neighbors left Christmas decorations up all year.

    I live in a neighborhood where playing loud music late in the night, as long as you’re not keeping anyone up and cut it out if someone needs to go to sleep, is acceptable.

    I’m from Georgia/grew up in Garland so my “car in the yard” sensitivity is probably not as nuanced as yours.

    And if this pandhandling is left unchecked, when will it lead to crime? Is it like Beetlejuice and on the third request for change, the person will become violent and attack? Honestly, I promise you it’s not that hard to keep walking and block it out. It’s part of living in a “big” city.

  • mm

    @Brett: “its” inevitable march… not that I agree with you.

    @Steve: bingo.

    @everyone else: so it’s pretty apparent that Glenn is not going to be our downtown neighbor. I’m OK with that.

  • Gwyon

    @SB:

    Watch me write two sentences. Neither will have any point.

  • Bill

    Don’t come on here and say that Dallas does not care for the homeless. We paid a kabillion dollars for “The Bridge” which was supposed to solve all the homeless problems in the CBD.

    REMEMBER?

    It was advertised as a foolproof solution to the human pigeons that roost in downtown.

    Nothing has changed since The Bridge opened.

    I think most of the Dallas homeless like living the way they do. Especially the ones Downtown. Help to get out of the situation they are in is literally an arm’s length away. Screw ’em.

  • Obama’s Seat

    Anyone here been to San Francisco lately?

  • John M

    Personally I agree with the idea of fining the people that give them money. If no one is there to enable the beggars I think the problem will fix itself.

  • Puddin’Tane

    I think the main problem is that we really don’t have a demographic study showing the breakdown of exactly who belongs to this group known as “homeless.”

    We continue to use lots of labels, not all with the same meaning, to describe the group as a whole. (I prefer the term Street People because I have no idea if they are truly homeless or not.)

    Just as an anecdotal observation, who do you see and would describe as “homeless” on a daily basis when you drive around Dallas? Be honest.

    Male? Black? Vets? Drug or alcohol addicts? Mentally ill? Fakers? (Just to stir the pot: when was the last time you saw Asians or Hispanics begging? Right.)

    I know what I have observed and experienced over an 18 yr period of volunteering and community service and definitely why I have come to the opinions I have.

    I think the truth is that we probably don’t want to know the truth because of the racial issues involved or that some of these people have to be made responsible for their own circumstances.

    There are answers to this issue but we have to realize we have to get tough.

  • Gwen

    This whole conversation is already making me feel more vibrant and authentically urban and–dare I say it?–more compassionate. From a carefully measured online distance, of course. Thank you, Glenn, for putting me in touch with my true self.

  • Brideget Nowhere

    Wow Glenn. You are one cold dude, unless you are just acting tough or being sarcastic.
    That line about us all being one paycheck away from being homeless is stronger now more than ever.

  • For a little comic relief, the topic of the lack of homeless Asians was already dealt with by the always amazing Karl Pilkington…

    http://www.pilkipedia.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Series_1_Episode_6

  • If you’re only one paycheck away from being homeless, whose fault is that?

  • yeah, right

    @Bill

    If “The Bridge” didn’t solve the homeless problem, is that the fault of the homeless? Or the politicians?

  • Puddin’Tane

    Trey:

    I know a 40 something woman who moved here from NYC due to the cost of living there was impossible. She recently lost her job because the company she worked for went under.All the money she had previously saved was used up in her move to Texas. She was unable to pay rent and was forced to move in with her mother. Otherwise, she could also be homeless right now. She is currently doing everything possible to find employment.

    This is how someone can be one paycheck away from being homeless. Plenty of people live paycheck to paycheck.

  • Not to mention that someone could have to deal with some kind of medical issue/accident/surgery for themselves or their child and is living paycheck to paycheck because they are drowning in medical bills.

    There’s many, many ways someone could be living paycheck to paycheck (myself included in that group) and a lot of them have nothing to do with being irresponsible.

  • Sid Nancy

    Tane
    You do not speak for most people and there is not a CURE for Homelessness as though it were a disease. It sounds like You speak of your Truths, Anecdotes and Political Correctness from behind a shield of fear. Your solutions are fairy tales that Do sound like Nazi-ism.
    Homelessness has always been here and always will.
    Im with amandacobra, keep walk-in dude.
    Trey
    I love ya man, but sometimes its not any-ones Fault,
    its just life.

  • Brideget Nowhere

    Glenn you are such an amazing talented writer that you will probably get richer in these economic downturns. I am sorry that you have to be subjected to those that are not as talented or wealthy. I am sure it is something your pal Bush can take care of before he is thrown in prison for war crimes.
    I bet you are a christian too.

  • Realist

    I think it’s possible to have compassion — and yet still be firm (and, dare I say it?, ruthless) with the street people problem.

    In fact, I think Puddin’Tane’s solution is probably the most compassionate — because it gets people off the streets, provides them with shelter, food, and the possibility of a future, and acknowledges and cares for the helpless cases.

    Saying “no” or ignoring them is not a solution. Giving them money is not a solution — and is not compassionate either.

  • Steve

    Yep – the most important thing to remember is how much Jesus hates homeless people. Especially if it’s all their fault, the bastards.

  • SB

    @ Brideget Nowhere
    “I am sure it is something your pal Bush can take care of before he is thrown in prison for war crimes.”

    I think Godwin’s Law needs to be updated to include any completely irrelevant and obviously forced reference to George Bush and war crimes when participating in an online debate. It’s the new liberal fail safe. “I have nothing intelligent to say, so I’ll introduce you to my best friend, Non Sequitor!”

  • Trey’s post is emblematic of exactly what is wrong with the modern day republican party. The GOP’s de facto spokesmen, the talking heads, have heartily embraced the concept of social darwinism, basically that the poor are poor not because of societal conditions, but becasue they are stupid, lazy, or morally bankrupt. It allows those whose policies force people into poverty to still blaim the poor for their own plight, and, presumably, sleep at night.

  • Blame – dagnabit.

  • SB

    Towski’s right. Personal accountability plays no role in these peoples’ station in life.

    You, my friend, are an enabler and you do more damage to these people than any “Republican” you want to point a finger at.

  • Sheesh

    I miss Bethany

  • @ SB

    So it’s ALL down to personal accountability then? Ok, that was easy.

    I agree with Steve. It’s clear that Jesus would teach that compassion for these people, even the ones who might be in the situation because of their own actions, is weak, brah. Get a job!

  • I still think The Bridge is a good idea. It’s just mismanaged. They badly underestimated demand, both in terms of the amount of people they’d be handling and the amount of services they’d have to provide to those people. They weren’t ready to open the doors but did so anyway. Now, people who didn’t like the idea to begin with will take even longer to convince, and those who were on the fence have been firmly shoved to one side. It can work, but it’s going to take a long time and better choices. I hope to see more of the latter soon or else the project very well may be doomed.

    They have the right plan: once they get the services in place at The Bridge and equip themselves to deal with the flood, the people who can be helped will be helped, move on to transitional housing, and then back into society. I don’t think that’s pie-in-the-sky talk either. The infrastructure is only now starting to fall into place. It will take time and it will be frustrating.

    That said, I don’t necessarily think Puddin’ Tane or Realist are wrong. There is merit there.

    And Trey: come on. “If you’re only one paycheck away from being homeless, whose fault is that?” You’re better than that.

  • yeah, right

    what about the parking meters?

  • Realist

    It would be awesome if Jesus were still here to feed the five thousand with six loaves of bread and two baskets of fish.

    It would be more awesome if Jesus could put the Dow back at 14,000, bail out all the banks and automakers, and lower unemployment back below 5.0%.

    But Jesus ain’t here. We need to fix our problems ourselves.

    And if it works, we can thank Jesus. If it doesn’t work, we can blame George Bush.

  • SB

    It’s just too difficult for you to grasp that some people are just worthless. Instead, you have to concoct some half-wit yarn about the forces of the universe conspiring against each and every person living in the streets. Another way of blaming the ills of society on the big, bad corporations. Or the big, bad lack of universal healthcare. There are a million programs designed to help get these people back on their feet, and there are a million places they could find work if they truly wanted it. But you can’t smoke crack if you have a steady job, so I guess sleeping under the I-45 bridge and asking for handouts is a better alternative.

  • Collin County

    Michael Landauer says Joe Jaynes could fix this problem.

  • Puddin’Tane

    “Homelessness has always been here and always will.”

    Only because we allow it.

  • mm

    Was SB’s last sentence sarcasm, or confession?

  • @SB – somewhere between your hyperbole and mine lies the actual truth – that, yes, personal accountability is a big player in all of this, but, sadly, so is a system that doesn’t support it’s citizens.

  • Zac– Should that have been “who’s”?

  • When I worked downtown, I developed a strategy that worked pretty well: When I saw it coming (…you can always see it coming…) I beat them to the punch, asking them for some change before they asked me. You, know – to help a brother out.

  • Grammarian

    @Trey:

    Really? Are you, like, a writer?

  • Grammarian

    Crap. Eff’d my sarcasm. I meant “Aren’t.”

  • Brideget Nowhere

    You Bushheads do realize that you are in an extreme minority for your love of the the war criminal. I bet you think Sarah Palin was mistreated by the media.
    The fact that people in America are homeless while we spend billions and billions elsewhere is in and of itself a crime.

    If you don’t want to help the homeless, then don’t, but your macho chest beating and making fun of them seems harsh. I thought Wick was a better judge of character. It is good that you have the ultimate job security.

  • Were Jesus and his disciples:

    A. homeless
    B. street people
    C. miscreants
    D. beggars
    E. jobless (after, you know, they quit their jobs)
    F. all of the above

  • Realist

    Brideget Nowhere:

    I would agree with you that it’s deplorable that we’re spending so much on the war in Iraq (which would have been far less expensive if Bush had listened to Colin Powell and we had gone in there and done it right the first time).

    We’re not being macho pointing out the intractable problem of human nature. The street people problem can only be solved by recognizing what positive incentives (carrots) people really respond to — and what negative incentives (sticks) people will really make behavioral changes to avoid.

    The problem with most liberal solutions is that they are no solutions at all. They are merely vast sink holes of platitudinal carrots without the bracing effects that sticks will produce.

    Go back and really read Puddin’Tane’s solution. There are equal measures of compassionate carrots in there with the necessary sticks.

    And, as a better investment in our future, we should be spending money on education and family planning and counseling (both of which will reduce the street people problem for years to come).

  • Realist

    Christ! Can’t we please leave Jesus out of this?

  • SB

    “You Bushheads do realize that you are in an extreme minority for your love of the the war criminal. I bet you think Sarah Palin was mistreated by the media.
    The fact that people in America are homeless while we spend billions and billions elsewhere is in and of itself a crime.”

    Isn’t Brideget Nowhere proof of social darwinism?

  • Gwen

    I like Bethany’s take on things at her new FB knockoff site EB Nation.

    http://groups.google.com/group/the-eleventy-billionth-board

  • Sid Nancy

    Only because we allow it.
    That was a joke, right?

  • Dallasite

    We seem to have two kinds of people involved in this argument:

    1) The bleeding hearts that think that the homeless are just homeless because they are down on their luck or poor (or in one case, it’s all GW Bush’s fault).

    2) The heartless who think that the homeless are that way because they are just too lazy to get their act together.

    The temporary homeless, that is the people who find themselves homeless because of economic or social reasons like domestic violence, are homeless for less than two weeks on average. We aren’t really discussing them here. There is a very good safety net in place that cares for them and gets them off the street.

    We are talking about the chronic homeless, the street people, and they are overwhelmingly mentally ill. They are also overwhelmingly addicts. Whether their addictions are a result of, or a cause of, their mental illness probably differs from person to person, but in the end they are unemployable. In my opinion they are also a danger to themselves, and in some cases others. If sleeping in the gutter and eating out of dumpsters isn’t a danger to oneself, then what is?

    When group 1 listed above gives them money, it doesn’t go to food or shelter. It doesn’t help them in any way except to allow them avoid seeking help for another day. When you give them money you are enabling them to continue to live in the gutter and do drugs. Believe me, they rarely spend that money on food. You are also contributing to the greatest blight on our city.

    We have over 3,000 mentally ill people wandering our streets aimlessly, almost all of whom are drugged out of their mind, and Dallas’ solution was to build a building full of councilors and 100 beds. Since it opened, the homeless downtown are at the largest numbers I’ve ever seen.

    I support enforcing bans on panhandling, but it’s only a bandaid. It’s not going to solve the problem. It might make the quality of life downtown more tolerable, but it doesn’t get the homeless off the street. That’s going to have to involve taking them off the street and putting them in psychiatric facilities so they can get clean, sober, and treatment for their illness.

  • Realist

    Dallasite:

    Welcome to this thread. Please go back and read Puddin’Tane’s first comment.

    Hey, did you hear that there was this subprime crisis? That the stock market melted down? Really! Things are bad! Hey, did you know that it’s January of 2009? Really! It is!

  • Dallasite

    @Realist

    Thanks for the cordial welcome. I read the thread before posting.

    No thanks for the snide comment that wasn’t relevant or necessary. I guess when you have nothing intelligent to say, you have to go out of your way to prove it.

  • SB

    @ Dallasite

    Standing. Clapping.

  • Puddin’Tane

    Sid Nancy:

    Dead.
    Spot.
    On.
    Serious.

  • PR

    This morning a homeless guy in downtown asked me for $1.00 — said he hadn’t had a bite in weeks.

    So I bit him.

  • Puddin’Tane

    Taste like chicken or Natty Lite?

  • LakeWWWooder

    I’m not a bleeding heart nor heartless.
    I rarely give anyone a dime – except that guy who walked backwards singing “Aint’t Too Proud to Beg”. Busking?

    I also cut them off if they pull the hard luck story. I sometimes tell people I am broke too. Of course I used to do that at Classic BMW repair center much to the horror of most of the waiting room — hey you don’t get snowed with extras that way. I am from East Dallas, I don’t care if anyone thinks I have money or not.

    I have taken folks to the Salvation Army when I know any money will go directly to a drug dealer. No, not people I would size-up as dangerous – you can tell if they really want to go. The rehab facility is on Harry Hines by Inwood, Trey (urban yokels know this stuff). You have to wait for them to be admitted (but make sure they have proper ID or they can’t get in). Sit in that waiting room. Don’t look down and open your eyes and ears. You might learn something.

  • Gene

    Problem is, you can’t lump all homeless people in one group as one and the same no more than you can all of us. There is a different story or cause for each of them. Yes, many are addicts but not all and unfortunately too many are disabled and/or mentally ill and unemployable. Getting a job is not always the answer, finding affordable housing and assistance is. The people who give you the hard luck story, out of gas etc. are often not even homeless but scam artists. Stop giving to panhandlers and educate yourself on the resources available for those you think really need help. Help someone who needs help get those services. It takes compassion AND enforcement to help the homeless and get rid of the scam artists. That can’t be done if we consider them all one and the same. We can thank the ACLU for so many mentally ill people being on the street. An extreme reaction to the protection of our rights that is shameful.