$50 An Hour Professional Panhandler.

Ever wonder what happens to your money when you give it to a panhandler? I've stopped giving money to anyone on the street. I know this is something that has been debated here on Neatorama before. I've just decided to give money to charities that are equipped to help out the homeless. It's sad that someone would abuse the generosity of others in such a way as this.

I agree, it's too bad that people abuse the generosity of others. But isn't unethical or illegal for a news group to pull a stunt like this?
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In cincinnati, you have to have a permit to panhandle. I'm not sure if the permit is free or there's a fee (probably) but I do know there is a $50 fine if you are caught panhandling without one.

Now, usually, unlike this person, the people in cincinnati who panhandle don't have $50 for a fine. Or money for a permit.

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Newsflash: people are selfish and lazy. If you give them a handout just for breathing, you teach them that there's no point making an effort to earn a living.
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I worked for a number of years in San Francisco andwalked to the strain station a lot of days.

There were "regulars" along the way, each with his (usually was a "he") own routine. I gave them money every now and again in the same frame or mind that I gave money to musicians and mimes when I could afford it--they were entertaining. I recall one that had a dog that looked just like him (I teased a younger dog he had that if he (the younger dog) didn't stop hanging around with the hobo he to would come to look like him).

I noted one day that a regular was back after having been missing for some time. He explained that he had gotten sick and had pissed on a cop's shoes to get put in jail so he could mget medical care.

The thing to realize is that many of these people are in one of two groups--one of which s doing what they want to do--in the way of the hobo culture that goes back before my time I don't know how far.

The second group is people with severe mental or physical problems that would have been in the "state" hospitals where they could be taken care of more efficiently.

There is a third and I think more transient group of down-on-their luck folk who are a problem and I don't know for sure what to do about them.

But I'm pretty sure that having the rich kids camp out on the university lawn if it isn't too cold is not the answer.

Maybe we could stop taxing people to poverty, or something.
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I don't give money to any of these people. OK, maybe once in a while if they give me a great compliment or if I have some spare change I don't need, but just giving to these people? No way. The worse are the aggressive ones that stake their claim at ATM's and stores.
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Seems like a rather low estimate of $26k as well. Saw an interview with a guy in Texas a few years ago who claimed he pulled in close to $60k a year by washing windshields, or rather that people paid him to stop washing their windshields :P
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News stories like these blow everything out of proportion as usual. Ironically this story makes it sound as if every panhandler is a con artist - as if asking for money on a freeway entrance is desirable life position. I agree that giving money to charities is the best course of action as anyone that is down on the luck can use these resources. Even people that are truly down on their luck are mostly likely to abuse the use of the money. Give it to the Salvation Army so they can dole out food and sleeping. If I lived on the streets - chances are I'd be drunk half the time.

I think it's highly unethical that they gave the exact address of the woman panhandler for this story. There has to be a conscious decision to do this from an editorial standpoint and it did nothing to add to the story and was done to enable backlash?
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Larry Sheldon:

Your three groupings pretty much conforms to my experience. Group One and Group Three have a lot of overlap, otherwise known as "Drugs and/or Alcohol."

This story illustrates what is, for lack of a better concept, a kind of theft on the homeless.

The only thing I can think when I hear the young woman's petty rationalizations is, she is a narcicist and something of a Sociopath; she cares not one iota that she is taking from the marginal, only that she has found a quick way to earn some fast cash.

Pretty sad all around...
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Haha. They're in "Sugar House". Sounds like a den of iniquity.

Don't give money to anybody. My buddy is constantly bombarded by people at the bus terminal, asking for cigarettes. Or for change so they can get enough for a ticket somewhere; they're still there the next day, and the day after that - they're not going anywhere. Young people who beg are pathetic. Beggars take away our focus on people who really need the help.
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Agreed, it is a Bitch to figure out who's telling you the truth and who's playing you.

For all that I do for work, I just don't hand out money at all. It's an endless game, it enables people to no end, and I have my own bills to pay, thanks!
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Ugh. i hate going downtown just because of panhandlers. i just don't see the logic in a 40 something year old man coming up to a 20 year old female college student and asking for money. Anyone who is able to walk is able to find a job. I suck it up and go to work just like the rest of us. and not being able to find a job is a terrible excuse. panhandlers want jobs that bring in 60K a year or nothing. thats why they call em bums.
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Meh, she is a low life but this story does not bother me much. If youre are uncertain about how individuals will use money or if they are deserving just donate to a charity that helps the homeless.
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I was in San Fransisco and talked to a guy panhandling. His sign said "need cash for weed". I asked him if that works and he said that he made $100 a day.

And he had a regular job too.

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Inna: "Anyone who is able to walk is able to find a job. I suck it up and go to work just like the rest of us."

I understand what you were talking about in your comment and I agree with you about panhandlers, but that sentence bothered me a bit. It applies to lying panhandlers, but a lot of people apply this to actual homeless and that's where I see a problem. It's hard to get a job when you're a smelly homeless guy. Could you imagine what the interview would be like?
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I'm going to take the contrarian point of view. This story ran in Utah, SLC to be specific. The ending point: give to your local church. Do you know the biggest scam in Utah is the cultist LDS church? I bet the news station that ran this story is owned by the LDS. This story was ran for only one reason: to increase Mormon tithing.
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Intriguing point, MikeG.

I also don't give to panhandlers, as I've been told that's illegal where I live and because the panhandlers sometimes become violent and attack people. I'd rather give to a valid charity organization than risk myself and anyone with me while giving a handout to a total stranger.
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Andre Condrescu once describe Boulder, CO as the only town he's been in where people panhandled for Espresso and Gitane cigarettes. Funny and true. On Pearl St. I once saw a couple of young girls and they were asking money for a 'spot of tea', in a fake English accent. I did not give.

In general I give when the mood suits me. I once was talking to a guy and he needed money and he said 'I won't lie, I want to get drunk.' Since I was on the way to the liquor store myself, I invited him along and bought him some vodka, and some for myself and we went our seperate ways.

Another time, I was in Vancouver and I was leaving the next day so I gave some kid an undertermined amount of Canadian money in coins. He was very appreciative. Hell, he may have even had legit needs, who knows.
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this is horrible! it's people like this that give others who really are in need a bad name.

im also offended a bit. i work a legitimate (student) job and she makes WAY more than i do.
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Well first of all, don't give money to people who stake out regular territories. They are the ones most likely to not actually need help. However there are thousands if not millions of people in the US that are in dire need.

What I find to be almost as bad as this girl are the foundations for helping the homeless that 90% of what you give to them goes to their employees and infrastructure.

And that includes all those telemarketing chartiy places that sell you lightbulbs and stuff over the phone, like Salvation Army.
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In Madison, Wi the streets are lined with panhandlers. Chicago has the constant freeway person but you can't walk a block in downtown Madison without being asked for money. As a student there was a man who claimed to be deaf and had a piece of paper that said he needed money for the bus. I went back this weekend and I ran into him again. 3 years later. An hour later I got out of my car (which is nice) and saw a guy animated about my appearance..from across the street I knew he was going to ask for money. He actually had the same deaf thing going but instead of gas it was to fill his gas tank. Recruits! While I stood there and read his paper I thought that it would be a perfect way to distract someone and have a buddy pickpocket me or worse. It really disturbed me. And it really disturbed me that I was targeted even before I was within 20 feet of him.

There's a hobo culture there that works for people but they don't merely rely on the kindness of strangers, they feed off it with no intention of changing or telling the truth. There are even soup kitchens that bring soup to their hangouts as if they were starving. That large statistic they gave about how many panhandlers are lying is gross and believable. Good news is that I see more people offering services for money like shoe shining. Problem with that is they charge way too much, being more expensive than 'legal' businesses.
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What a stank bitch. I'm not going to rag on someone b/c they're lazy and selfish... I think most humans are, but to lie like that and to take advantage of someone else's kindness is just straight up stank.
I hope everyone in that area saw that story and stops giving her money. Throw a few profanities at her as well while they're at it.

I remember a while back, there used to be a panhandler in this very busy intersection a few miles from where I live.
Used to be out there almost every day.. and the guy was just like this girl. He would park his car in the parking lot of the Kmart so no one would know it was his.
We caught him a few times packing up his stuff and leaving.
We also caught him riding off on motorcycles as well.
The guy was definitely not poor. Dunno if he got his money from panhandling or whatever, but it always pissed us off to see him.
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Well who'd have thunk it?

Reactionary press finds someone who is a theiving little shit.

She's abusing the public's charity Ipso facto they all are!!

Which is exactly what the peice implies.

There'll always be the very few who are up to no good but to apply the finding s of a particular case and try and reason that this means that all homeless people are doig this would be the same as saying if you have a work colleague who is lazy that all your colleagues were.

It's an absurd line of reasoning.

The reason she allegedly makes $50 an hour is she's a GIRL.

And a girl begging in a dangersous spot.

She will elicit sympathy from a greater number of peopkle than some gnarled up old crazy guy who reeks of piss now isn't she?
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The ones that really, really get to me are the people who use their kids as added incentive to give. We had a guy that sat each weekend in an abandoned lot across from McDonald's and begged for food for his kids. So, of course, I went over and bought a bag of hamburgers and some drinks, and took it to him. The kids take it, and go back to him, saying "No money, just more food." Then they threw it out.
What a great thing to teach your children.
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Guess I'm just naturally cynical, because I've never believed those homeless signs and have never given to a panhandler. Stick to the church and well-established and respected charities.
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Somebody mentioned street musicians and mimes. As a street musician, I should point out we do not fall into this category. Most of us make no effort to look poor, we don't beg and we are generally not looked on as beggers.
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I work in downtown Indianapolis, and a few years ago you couldn't walk a block without being approached for money. They've since made it illegal to actively panhandle; all they can do now is shake a cup or hold up a sign, although there are plenty who still ask (there's one creepy cracked-out woman who will step in front of you and follow you for half a block if you don't tell her to leave you alone). I don't carry cash on my person anymore, not even change (coins for parking meters are kept in my glove compartment), so I can't feel guilty about lying when I say I haven't got anything to give them. (I'm not Catholic, but I'd be good at it.)

Occasionally I'll offer food to the "Homeless & Hungry Any Help Please God Bless" sign-holders. Surprisingly (or maybe not), some of them don't seem to be all that hungry.
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Oh, and Ian, we have three resident street musicians within a few blocks of my workplace, and I freaking LOVE those guys. There's a guy with a saxophone who frequently parks himself directly across the street, an older guy with a guitar who sounds like a cross between Johnny Cash and Gene Autry, and a new guy who sings Dylan (or pretty much any song in the style of Dylan). If I was going to give money to anyone on the street, it'd be those guys. But since I never have money to give, sometimes I'll go buy them a cold drink on hot days.
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When my mom used to work at Walmart, there was a guy who stood at the intersection in front of the store every day asking for money because he had no job. The store manager (he was a really great guy, I miss him) walked out there one day and offered the guy a job on the spot. The guy declined, saying he made more money panhandling. Later, he walked a couple of blocks to where he parked his BMW and changed into a suit and tie and drove off.

I have had the fleeting thought of standing under an overpass with my baby in my arms...cause I'm so damned poor and gas is so freaking expensive....but then common sense and my sense of morality takes over.
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Whats so bad about giving a few bucks to someone else? I know its not fair for her to give this bullshit story, but really how bad is it for me to miss a few $? Its not like i would want to swap jobs with her, even if i make less myself, at least i do something i enjoy. How sad if this is your life, having to do bad acting at an offramp for hours every day. If your job is worst than that. maybe you should consider doing something else rather then be upset with her. Why not get upset with the people who earn millions selling weapons or oil instead?
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It's surprising how few comments there are on this that state the obvious- it's one girl. They. Are. Not. All. Like. This.

There, I've said it as clear as I can.

Yes of course we have all seen people who abuse the genorosity of others, but actually think back of all the people who you haven't seen actively begging for money because they're so drunk or drugged up. And why would they be drunk/drugged up? Not because it's fun, but because it's easier to deal with (for a woman) to be raped now and again if you're so off your face you don't remember.
Sorry to be so blunt but the uncaring attitude of some of the commenters has angered me.

Like not Americans are stupid, and not all Muslims are terrorists, not all homeless people are frauds.
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you're right, but there are organizations and shelters that help them become not so "smelly homeless guys". shit, there's even an organization that loans donated business attire so that people can look nice for job interviews for free. There are people who devote themselves to work in organizations to help these people find jobs and take care of them until they are able to make it on their own. So the only homeless people i feel sorry for are the truly helpless ones, and thats a whole other rant on giving welfare and medicaid to people with benzs while a man with no legs sleeps in a pile of newspaper.
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in chicago there is a fantastic program to help legitimate homeless people and their families it's called the inspiration corporation. my girlfriend took a quiz there when she was going to volunteer and in turn gave me the quiz when she got home. i was totally shocked at the answers. i wish we still had the quiz i would post it here.
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I only give money to a man on the street if he's holding an accordion, or possibly a violin bow and a saw blade. Maybe if he's got one of those drum kits made out of buckets and barrels.

You know, this isn't a new thing. It's been possible to make a decent living begging for centuries.
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I'm going to join in with the surprisingly few people pointing out that this girl is the exception, NOT the rule. At all. She is a decent looking girl, rather than your typical grubby middle aged man. Ironically, that means she makes lots of money, because people are more inclined to trust somebody that doesn't look homeless.

There's no neat solution to this. Not everybody is capable of working, or they really are just down on their luck, and let me tell you, it's a lot easier to fall down than climb up.

The "only give to charities" solution isn't really much better. I'd be willing to bet roughly the same amount of money is used for necessities no matter which way you go. Charities have plenty of overhead, not to mention how many charities are, themselves, scams. Churches? Most of them spend more money on their church and congregation than actually goes to the homeless people.
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I struggled for several years with the “give or not to give” dilemma in downtown Chicago. A few months ago, I had a box of plain white business cards printed with this quote from Miguel de Cervantes: “Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn.” Now when approached by panhandlers, I simply hand them a card, along with a buck or any spare change I happen to have. Responses vary widely, but surprise is the most common reaction. I hope to have inspired at least a few of these (allegedly) homeless to aspire to something greater, but as I trudge off to my stressful job so that I can afford my oppressive mortgage and wasteful lifestyle, I have to wonder sometimes who is really better off?
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Ya'know? I respect her. She goes out every day and tricks people out of their money. That's awesome. To a certain point, you can only deal with the overcharging doctors, the telemarketers, and the insurance salesmen for so long. It is a nice change of pace to see someone making their cash with some good, strait dishonesty, but then I have always been a sucker for moral absolutes.

Also, that broadcast was complete crap. I know several currently and formerly homeless people, and they are sincerely in need. Exercise judgement in this matter, as a lot of homeless will support drug problems with donations, but do not harden your hearts to those who need your generosity just because some hack reporter piled together some anecdotal evidence that serves to slander the overwhelming majority of the needy indigent.
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It's not as if this is anything new. Anyone remember Sherlock Holmes "The Man with the Twisted Lip"?

Anyway, lots of people lie to you for money - politicians, advertisers and so on - she's just another one.
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I give to the people who I know need the money.. That means friends /relatives. They did a story similar to this here in Minneapolis, and the couple had a nice house and a older car, but it ran. What made me mad was the Mom, if you want her out of it tell her to quit or kick her ass out and she can see what it's like to really be homeless and need that $$, people would probably not giver her anymore because of the story.. Now that whould be karma!
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Back in the early '80s, I was involved in something similar to this. I was still living at home and going to high school. One day, I met a guy downtown and we started chatting. Soon enough, after we'd met up for coffee a few times, he took me around during the day panhandling. Told me to play dumb and let him do the talking. He spun a great tale about being robbed and needing a bus ticket to Calgary for "me and my old lady". He was a very charming man, some days we hauled in over a hundred bucks! Spent most of it at Gasworks (a seedy bar here in Toronto) and on food.

Moral of the story: Don't believe everything you hear.

Best part of the story: The man turned out to be David Milgaard on the run from the penitentiary for a murder he didn't commit. The cops shot him in the butt on Queen Street a couple of months later (not in the official records!) and took him back to jail. He was released more than 10 years later after serving more than 20 years in prison. I would love to see the looks on the faces of the people that gave us money when they realized who he was!
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A short-order cook I used to work with needed extra money for Christmas. He and his girlfriend dressed like homeless people and then went out panhandling. They made something like 300 dollars.
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Lets hope no one decides to take their anger out on "megan" after they see this "important" story. Sounds like the reporter has a personal beef with this girl. Hope nothing happened to her as a result of this much needed "investigative" report. Local newsies...they are all chumps.
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