Should you [give panhandlers money / call the cops on panhandlers]?

Nah. I work hard for every dollar I have, and I don’t feel guilty in the least bit for ignoring panhandlers on the street. Nor should anyone, IMO.

That doesn’t mean I’d report them to the cops, necessarily, though. As long as you’re being peaceful in your begging, I don’t care where in public you choose to do it.

The alternative is to write a check to organizations that exist for the sole purpose of feeding, sheltering and teaching the homeless.

By paying someone directly a person risks enabling a drug/alcohol habit and encourages repeat panhandling which is bad for local business. Less business means fewer jobs and less taxes paid.

When I was younger, lived downtown and walked to work, I would still take panhandlers to the corner drugstore or to the church for breakfast. Some people need to eat right then and to get out of the cold for a little while. And it was better for me not to be so removed.

Still, there are many good organizations that feed and shelter the homeless.

We should be able to walk from our stores/offices to our cars in peace.

Nice, clean, sterile, homogenized, environments.

Those fucking bums are screwing it up. They should ask for their money like real men.

In front of congress.

Don’t feed the pigeons, seagulls, or homeless. It reinforces begging behavior. We can use indifference as a means of behavior modification to cull the homeless population.

Yes, I admit I would certainly have a different point of view if I were living in a big city, like…hmm…wait a minute…

Are anti-vagrancy laws constitutional? In those old movies, you always see a cop walking his beat with a nightstick-telling some hobo to 'move on". The cops used to enforce these laws-I don’t see this today.

I know that around here, a lot of the panhandlers aren’t actually homeless. I have seen them get into rather nice cars and drive away. My sister has seen some get out of a new Mustang, scruffy themselves up and go panhandling. Various news reports have reported on this as well. My personal feeling is that I would never give panhandlers money directly (homeless charities are a different story) but I don’t feel the need to have them arrested unless they are doing something bad. I might give them food directly.


I ignore them. All you are doing is perpetuating the cycle. If no one gave them money then they’d figure out that perhaps a shelter and a job would be a good idea. Yeah, I’m a cold-hearted prick.

I didn’t use the word “homeless” in my OP. I was discussing panhandlers, some of which may or may not be homeless.

Because they aren’t paying taxes?

I know an awful lot of people who spend their personal money on drugs and alcohol but when someone on the street asks them for change, turn into the Universe’s Social Worker.

The last couple of times I gave money (like $1-2) to a panhandler, they became indignant and said “aw, come on man…”

Doesn’t really encourage me to ever give again.

No to both questions, although of course you should call the cops if a panhandler is acting in a threatening manner. Give your money to the local foodbank, job-training center or homeless shelter - it’ll do a lot more good. Although I’ve bought food for homeless people down the block more than once, I expect money put directly into their hands is probably going to go for drugs or alcohol.

The advice I always give in these threads: if you don’t want to give money that’s fine, but don’t literally ignore them. You walk past a bum and he says, “spare change?” – if you neither break stride nor turn your head, and you generally act as if you can neither see nor here him, it’s both incredibly rude and rather likely to lead to an unpleasant incident. Just smile and say “no, sorry” or “not tonight.”

And yes, calling the cops on homeless people who aren’t being unusually disturbing is a dick move: both the bums and the cops have enough problems as it is.

I once called the cops to report a guy who was hitting me up for cash so that he could pay his parking meter fee. Why? Because he gave me the same exact story the week beforehand.

Unfortunately, the police officer said that they can’t do anything in such circumstances.

Who cares if people spend their own personal money that they EARNED on whatever they want?

I give them money if they have amusing signs or say something amusing.

I don’t think I (or anybody else) has a right to not see homeless people, any more than we have the right to not see people wearing red shirts or Birkenstocks with socks. We do have the right to not be aggressively panhandled or threatened, and I would think about calling the cops in that case.

If you’re going to grant the authorities the right to shoo away homeless people for being disgusting and dirty, are you going to send the cops after me because a passing driver splashed mud on my pants and I haven’t had a chance to go home and change? What if I make someone feel guilty by looking like their mother who they don’t get along with?

Everyone deserves the right to life, liberty and the paying of taxes. :rolleyes:

Why do you hate freedom?

You mean like giving it to panhandlers? Yet they don’t just not do it themselves – they lecture me and anyone else about doing it.