Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2010

Downtown Lawrence merchant group asking customers to stop giving money to panhandlers

October 14, 2010


Downtown merchants have a new message for their customers: It’s time for a change when it comes to giving spare coins to panhandlers.

Downtown Lawrence Inc., with some help from City Hall, plans to launch a new educational program designed to discourage downtown visitors from supporting panhandlers.

“We need to convince the public that the money they give panhandlers really will not help them,” said Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. “The small amount that most people can afford to give is not enough to help the individual, and a lot of times the money they do receive is not used for very productive purposes.”

The proposed program — which likely wouldn’t begin until the spring — centers on a resource card that lists all the social service agencies where panhandlers can receive help.

The resource card — a tri-folded pamphlet about the size of a business card — will be available near the check-outs of downtown businesses. Pennington said the cards are designed to be given to customers who can choose to give them to panhandlers in lieu of cash.

But Pennington said even if customers don’t choose to give the card to panhandlers, it still will be useful to educate customers that it is OK not to give panhandlers money.

“The people who really need help in the community, by and large, know where to get it,” Pennington said. “We hope by sharing this information with the public that we will ease any guilt they have in not giving money. We hope they’ll see that there are a lot of ways for people to get help in Lawrence.”

The resource card will list contact information for about 20 social service organizations, including providers of food, shelter, health care and drug and alcohol treatment. The card also encourages people to volunteer or donate money to a social service organization.

It also will offer several tips to deal with panhandlers, including to “walk with confidence” on the city’s streets, and to “above all, please do not give directly to panhandlers. Data show that the money received from panhandling goes to alcohol, drugs and cigarettes — not to food and shelter.”

Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, said he supports the effort, though he said he would like to see some of the language about panhandling money being used for drugs and alcohol toned down.

“That particular phrase is a little harsh,” Henderson said. “But it is still a draft, and the intention is good. We don’t support panhandling at the shelter. As far as we’re concerned, it is not a healthy activity.”

The program is based after a similar one used in Madison, Wis., Pennington said.

The city likely will provide some help to get the program off the ground, said Megan Gilliland, communications coordinator with the city. She said the city likely would provide assistance with the printing of the resource cards, and is helping ensure that the information on the cards is accurate.

The cards likely will start showing up in March or April as warmer weather brings out more panhandlers.

“We do feel like the additional foot patrols by the police have made a tremendous difference in the number of panhandlers on the street,” Pennington said. “But we feel like we need this extra step to ensure that downtown is an inviting place to be.”


tolawdjk 7 years, 3 months ago

If no improvement is seen by July 4th, the water hose will be used.

Steve Bunch 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, that's certainly paternalistic of the downtown merchants. Did they survey the panhandlers to determine how the money was being used? ("The small amount that most people can afford to give is not enough to help the individual, and a lot of times the money they do receive is not used for very productive purposes.”) Does that mean we shouldn't give "small amounts" to social service agencies either, since small amounts don't do any good? And did any of us really think that we're required to give money to panhandlers? At least now we'll have this great educational program to make sure we know what we're doing. We live in a moronocracy.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

You must have just arrived.

The phrase "not used for very productive purposes" has a clear meaning to everyone but you. It means they buy DRUGS with the money. How do we know that? Because that's why when we take our kids to South Park we see people passed out in pools of their own bodily fluids. We know that because all the FOOD, SHELTER and CLOTHING they need is made available to our homeless. They don't need to buy food. They don't need $8 more dollars to finally open their restaurant. The money is for DRUGS.

I find it hard to believe that you didn't realize that.

Steve Bunch 7 years, 3 months ago

Guess what? When I give a panhandler money, which isn't often, I give it with no strings attached. I assume the individual will use it for what's important to him. If that's drugs instead of food, that's his choice and I'm OK with it. I'm free to give or not give, and the recipient is free to use it as he chooses.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

Let's be clear: What you are doing is choosing the path of least resistance, not the path of love. You don't care if his drug addiction spirals further out of control? Don't fool yourself into thinking you are a free-thinking liberal. You are simply thoughtless.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

You may see people in such conditions because of drugs, but more likely you are seeing the consequence of the decision to shut down mental health treatment for the poor. That citizens permit such a thing is horrible, however, I'll grant you that.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

I can only agree. Many of the homeless who abuse drugs are simply self-medicating when they need actual medicine.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

I think that's a great idea. If shoppers can better understand that the panhandling isn't saving lives, that the dollars and coins are NOT going to keep anyone from freezing to death, but that it perpetuates a chronic condition, then they will be better empowered to say no.

Now some of the beggars will NOT respond well, but that's not because they are going to starve to death, etc., but because people no longer giving them money will create a systemic change that they will not like... at first. For some, no longer getting change will mean opening their minds to better solutions for their chronic problems. That will create positive change for the panhandlers.

For those who don't like the idea of "solutions" for their problems: they'll make their way to other cities.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 3 months ago

"The resource card will list contact information for about 20 social service organizations, including providers of food, shelter, health care and drug and alcohol treatment."

There are 20 social service organizations in the community to help them. How does that make Lawrence mean?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

"Lawrence is mean to homeless people" is his way of trying to appear enlightened and socially sensitive. Let him pretend.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

For the ignorant:

"In January, 2006 a survey was released by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty named Lawrence, KS the 2nd “meanness city” to the homeless in the United States. The survey focuses on the increase in ordinances that make behaviors such panhandling and sleeping on sidewalks illegal and the media coverage which represents public disdain and often hatred for those living on the street. A critical perspective missing from the study were views of those currently experiencing homelessness in Lawrence."

I am enlightened by this study, however would never claim to be socially sensitive - that is the job of the helper libs.

If Lawrence wants to tout the "groovy downtown" designation, they can also own this study. I am sure many wish it was forgotten.

redneck 7 years, 3 months ago

There are many social programs in all communities to help the needy, including Lawrence. There is no need for people to beg for money. I cooked for the homeless last spring, and they complained, because hamburgers were not good enough. I will never cook for people who are so ungrateful again.

Jim Phillips 7 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps you should ask these people why they are in Lawrence to begin with. I have. The answer is the same. "Lawrence takes care of us!'

If Lawrence is so mean, as you claim, why do they stay? Same answer.

Now, before you go on a tirade spouting how they have no money to leave, they had no money when they got here. Last I knew, The Salvation Army will purchase a bus ticket for them.

I wonder, is your knowledge based solely on what you read?

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

If they focused on whether or not we allow panhandling and sleeping on the streets, it's not much of a study.

I'd be more interested in how many agencies exist in order to provide help, if they are seeking it.

notanoobhere 7 years, 3 months ago

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sara82 7 years, 3 months ago

What?????? Lawrence is the nicest and most tolerant of homeless people that I personally have seen.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 3 months ago

How would you know? Have you been homeless? Have you been homeless in other cities?

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

That's why there's a front page story of merchants banding together to blame bums for the economic woes that bad city policies and the robber-rent-barons have caused.

Kat Christian 7 years, 3 months ago

Bull Lawrence is not mean to the homeless, if any it has been too accommodating to them - that is why they come from the North in the Winter to next here because Lawrence will provide for them. Try going to a large city like Washingtin DC, Detroit, Chicago, etc. People just step over them while they are sleeping in the street. Panhandling is prohibited or they get arrested if caught. So no Lawrence is not being mean to the homeless the homeless are mean to some of us.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 3 months ago

I like to give small gift certificates to local merchants. It gets the homeless off the street and Into a warm store and supports local businesses.

Caroline Bennett 7 years, 3 months ago

Personally, I think that is a great idea. I think I will try this, too.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 3 months ago

I like to give a useful amount. For example, if i am feeling generous on a Friday night, I might give someone a gift certificate to one of the mid-range restaurants during the dinner rush and then help him get down there. I am sure local restaurants enjoy the business even if the patrons are a bit unusual.

Meatwad 7 years, 3 months ago

Nice idea, slightly better than giving them cash, but don't forget they can always sell your gift certificate. Say you give them $5, they could sell it for $1-$3 to someone else so that they have cash for their cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.

CrazyUkrainian1 7 years, 3 months ago

First, the "problem" as seen by Pennington and Downtown Lawrence Inc., is the fact that there are panhandlers ie...human beings hanging out in downtown Lawrence. So to stop the problem, the suggestion is to hand them pieces of paper with information on how to receive help? Also, what research did Pennington do when she came up with the generalization that these people use the money for unproductive uses. Did she poll all the individuals in question and ask them how they spend the money they received? Do you have a psychology degree to determine the mindset of these people and their ability to make sound decisions when it comes to spending money? I think not. The only thing that will happen, in most cases when a person is handed one of these pieces of paper is that it will be discarded. You cannot stop people from giving them money if they choose to and should be up to the person's discretion. Yes...let's waste money and natural resources to print these pointless pieces of paper and give them to people that probably wouldn't want them. Whether people like it or not, these are members of our community, and if people stop to think how would I want to be treated if I were in that situation, I'm sure you wouldn't want to be handed a piece of paper, maybe just a few dollars to buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich to get through the day. Everything is about capitalism and making money...nope...can't have people on the street asking for money, especially during these hard times...looks bad for business and detracts people from spending money, and therefore from people like Pennington and Downtown Lawrence, Inc. from making money. The fact is this is the scene across the country and it will never change until proactive and community minded individuals start actually trying to help people, and not make decisions that are intended to only help themselves.

jehovah_bob 7 years, 3 months ago

Surely you're not saying that we have the resources to save the poor from their lot?

There will be poor always pathetically struggling.

Look at the fine things we've got.

friendlyjhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

Ah, a little musical theater to brighten this bleary anonymous writing.........Maria, I just gave a girl named Maria 87cents in change.............

Wendy magillicutty 7 years, 3 months ago

it's curious to me that you blast them for "knowing" that they're going to use the money for unproductive uses yet you "know" they're not going to use the paper with information.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

"what research did Pennington do when she came up with the generalization that these people use the money for unproductive uses"

Your eyes must be glued SHUT. Who needs research? Are you suggesting that there is still a degree of question about the drug and alcohol use among the chronically homeless? You aren't quite convinced that the majority of those beggars are NOT buying food (which is provided daily to them free of charge in our city) with that money? The only reason they are begging is because of what they "need" to buy that the social service agencies won't provide them with. Your post is nothing more than pseudo-socially-consciousness. An empty contribution.

"The fact is this is the scene across the country and it will never change until proactive and community minded individuals start actually trying to help people"

So our 20 social service agencies serving the homeless doesn't count toward your call for "actually trying to help"?

Bursting 7 years, 3 months ago

agreed, and

"Do you have a psychology degree to determine the mindset of these people and their ability to make sound decisions when it comes to spending money?"

I guess if you count vision and hearing as a psychology degree, then yes yes I do have one, if a degree is what makes me smart enough to read a person then yes!!!

scribe 7 years, 3 months ago

So what will be done about the homeless guys who frequently cruise the apartment complexes/neighborhoods asking for handouts? I have been approached twice in the last month by guys giving the 'I'm traveling to such and such and just need a little money for food..." speech when I was getting out of my car....Veteran's Park area. I hope there's a plan to teach the students about the new initiative, as young people sometimes find it hard to say no because they think they're being mean if they do.

ToriFreak13 7 years, 3 months ago

Call the police to cover yourself and your neighbors. If they are getting brave enough to approach people in neighborhoods, they may get tired of people saying no and end up committing a crime.

scribe 7 years, 3 months ago

Get off your high horse, Ukraine...the people who want to get out of being homeless are not the ones on the street panhandling. The people who actually want help do go through the many wonderful agencies in Lawrence and are eventually successful. Give your money to them instead.

CrazyUkrainian1 7 years, 3 months ago

You're missing the point scribe, these people are not being treated like human beings and handing them info cards is not going to get them help. If people want to give them money then it is their decision. You nor anyone else can grasp the reality that is the day to day for these people, or what circumstances landed them in the situations they are in. If these organizations want to help they can seek out these people and offer them help. Maybe it would turn the situation around for them. Obviously the current mindset of most people hasn't brought about any positive change in these people's lives. One kind word can make all the difference.

scribe 7 years, 3 months ago

I happen to work for one of the organizations that make a difference and I also have given money to homeless individuals in the past only to see them sitting on the patio at Free State drinking a beer. One can be kind and still be firm.

Hudson Luce 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, if that's the case, offer to take them up to Free State and buy them a beer if you see them again. I see nothing wrong with buying a homeless person a beer, especially if it's a nice day and they can sit out on the patio and drink it. They won't get trashed on one beer... and they probably won't be able to raise enough money quickly enough to get drunk on Free State beer.

somedude20 7 years, 3 months ago

simmer down now chief and move your soapbox tax payers are paying for these people. if you pay taxes good, if you don't then please be quiet

geekin_topekan 7 years, 3 months ago

In turn, the homeless should discourage people from patronizing the merchants.

"Scuze me, I wouldn't go in there. You don't want support what they do with your money. you know, we can only assume they are involved in some un-natural sexual activities, yuck. Or drugs. Of course I don;t know for sure but, well use your imagination."

Kyle Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

And the dumbest post of the day! Congratz. You win absolutely nothing.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Ah, the good old 'Downtown Merchants.' Gotta keep appearances up, eh? I remember when businesses, if only for the good PR, used to try to help those people out.

You know what, Merchants? The panhandlers have never kept me from frequenting your stores and restaurants and I do the best I can to 'buy local' and help my community out--especially at Christmas time--even when it means paying 3 or 4 times as much for the stuff you peddle. I guess if the downtown merchants no longer care about their community, neither should I. Come to think of it, there is a strange absence of black faces in this town too...

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 3 months ago

That's not a strange absence, it's completely typical for any not-large city in the midwest.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

I suppose that's why Topeka (30 min west), Leavenworth (40 min north), and KCK (30 min east) all have proportional representation, if not moreso. This article illustrates a merchant influence that clearly aims to keep "undesirables" out, so my next question is who else has been excluded and why? Could it have anything to do with the artifcially high cost of living and property value? hmmm.

gatekeeper 7 years, 3 months ago

I earn my money. How I spend it, or give it away, is my business. If I give it to a panhandler that in turn buys a beer with it, so be it. I have often told panhandlers that I won't give them money, but will buy them food. They often are happy with that. I guess I'm just a terrible person for doing what I was taught by my parents by doing good to others. How dare I feed someone in need! I guess I'm ignorant for believing we should give hands up and help others. Darn that Christian upbringing I had.

scribe 7 years, 3 months ago

You're not the only Christian in the group, kid.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Buying them food is great! But, just giving them money is not great. When you offer to buy them food and they decline, then you know they want it for something else.

Case in point. Last month I was at Dillons on W 23rd St when a nicely dressed man in his mid to late thirties approached me in the parking lot and asked me for money to buy groceries for himself, his girlfriend and her two young children. I told him I didn't have any cash on me (true) but I would take him inside and buy him groceries. He said no because his girlfriend buys the groceries. I then told him I would buy them a gift certificate so she could buy groceries. He also said no to that. His reason - his girl friend only buys fresh vegetables from the Farmer's Market so he needed cash! LOL! Needless to say, he got nothing from me except a shake of the head.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years, 3 months ago

maybe they good food and clothing and shelter from agencies but do not get cars. perhaps, theyre saving up for a car.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years, 3 months ago

sorry "get" food and clothing and shelter..

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

You should have suggested that he panhandle at the Farmers' Market, then, instead of at Dillon's.

irvan moore 7 years, 3 months ago

they (downtown Lawrence) think it's money the taxpayers should be tithing to them for a parking garage. do they not give paychecks to their employees who spend money on drugs or other "not sp productive" things?

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

This card thing might be a good idea as long as someone is going to be picking up the extra trash it is sure to create.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 3 months ago

Don't be absurd. Having a better clean up crew would actually create more jobs, which might prevent somebody from being or becoming homeless. Why would the city do something so radical?

somedude20 7 years, 3 months ago

one spillover benefit to all of the homeless is that they go around eating our trash. i would get a job so that i would not have to eat trash

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Ditto. I got shoved by a guy that was panhandling outside a bar because I politely said, "No", when he asked me for money. The shoving did not change my mind.

gatekeeper 7 years, 3 months ago

That's when you should call the police. If you didn't, shame on you.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Gatekeeper, by the time the police would have arrived, the perps were long gone.

gatekeeper 7 years, 3 months ago

And you file a report and they stay on the look out for him. It's no different than any other person attacking you.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Nope. I have been by a drunk student before though.

Push out the freeloading, money-borrowing, drug-using, sexual assaulting, drunk-texting-driving, puke sleeping, sideburn craven students!

Richard Payton 7 years, 3 months ago

If Brett Farve donated money for the cards could we call them the little Farve cards?

IndusRiver 7 years, 3 months ago

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IndusRiver 7 years, 3 months ago

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JustNoticed 7 years, 3 months ago

Give if you want to. I like to throw paper money in guitar cases in appreciation for music but that's it. If you give, then you're done with the transaction. It's a GIFT and what's done with it is not your business.

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't mind helping people who truly want and need help, but I'm not a fan of spending scarce resources on the professional homeless who migrate between here and Austin as the seasons change.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Here's another side to this story that many of you may not be aware of. Some of the panhandlers are on medications for mental illness or other diseases. If you give them money for booze, or buy booze for them, it will likely adversely affect their medications. Sometimes those same people will end up in jail because of that. If you really care about humanity, as most of you indicate, then don't do more harm by being an enabler.

pace 7 years, 3 months ago

I have no problem with donating to a wide variety of social and charitable.
A lot of the panhandlers aren't homeless. Help people get training, medical help, a job, a home, don't buy them a drink. Don't hand money to people unless you know them. It hurts businesses, the public and usually the panhandler.

sad_lawrencian 7 years, 3 months ago

I think the city needs to ban all panhandling from downtown Lawrence once and for all. I didn't used to feel this way, but after spending more time downtown of late, I think it would be a great idea. Panhandlers are a blight on the otherwise charming downtown area.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 3 months ago

All I know is I see quite a few panhandlers drinking beer at bars the same evening of the day they hit me up for cash...

Be honest. We all know they use it to buy alcohol and other forms of drugs...

pace 7 years, 3 months ago

The real professionals, who hang out with the signs "will work for food" "need money for my family", I scare them with earnest and intense offers of work. I need my yard tidied, the grass on my sidewalk edged, my car detailed. I pay pretty good. Best workers get raises. Few panhandlers take me up on it. Two hours of pushing broom should come back in style. To be fair, I once paid a panhandler twenty bucks to pick up litter, he did a good job and got $10. an hour. I also know some knuckleheads in North Lawrence who when caught stealing from the homeless claimed the homeless had no rights to their own belongings, due to their lack of home. that somehow it wasn't stealing. Some thieves always have an excuse. I know of two homeless people who lost their IDs and VA papers to such scum.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

People who don't have to exist as wage slaves scare the heck out of business people and must be eliminated.

The older among us probably remember the term railroad bull. Nice to see our humanity has not changed much really.

lllwll 7 years, 3 months ago

Downtown Lawrence and City Hall come out and say don't give to panhandlers, educuate them.

Bull crap. They wern't saying that a year ago.

L. Henderson and his little save all attitude just happened to remind all that he needs support and money or the homeless will keep asking.

liberallibrarian 7 years, 3 months ago

I am a bleeding heart liberal and I won't give panhandlers downtown money. I worked downtown for almost 10 years and was repeatedly asked for money day after day by the same drunk people (usually with a dog they can't take care of) . It's frustrating and sad and a completely legitimate complaint by local business owners who don't want their customers harassed as they walk in the door. I donate what little money I can to local charity, the Red Cross, and St. Jude's.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for your honesty. Why is it so inappropriate for so many poser-liberals to admit the obvious? We can throw $50 bills at these people all day long, and their quality of life would NEVER change. THEY need to change.

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, we fortunately have a right to free speech, which includes your right in a public place to ask anyone for money for your church, animals, girl scouts ... or just yourself.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, let's follow the examples of Germany and Japan in all things! Fabulous idea.

MaryKatesPillStash 7 years, 3 months ago

You are more than entitled to not give a homeless person money. But to ask me not to is truly ridiculous.

Your "go away, you smell bad and I don't want my kids to see you!" attitude disgusts me, but I would never ask you to change it. So please, respect me enough to at least pretend not to disapprove as I go to YOUR restaurant, purchase TWO meals, and give one to a human being that deserves a bit more compassion than you are willing to give.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

PillStash, you may want to re-read the comments. This has little to do with lack of compassion. If you want to help, do it constructively.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 3 months ago

How is buying somebody a meal not constructive?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

You, like so many others, are completely missing the point. NO homeless person is EVER going without food in Lawrence. Every homeless death we read about in the paper is about substance abuse (too drunk to stay off the train tracks, too drunk to get inside the shelter in January, etc.). Go ahead and buy them a meal at Zen Zero. You didn't "save" them from anything. Oh, and I have to ask: are you actually sitting down and eating with them, or just giving them money? Because I assure you: the money you are giving them is not for food.

Richard Andrade 7 years, 3 months ago

The women with babies- I can't walk by and not give money, even if it's just a buck.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Reminds me of the two teenage girls who came knocking at my door this last Spring. They claimed they were colllecting money for the March of Dimes, which no longer goes door to door. One of them even claimed she had a handicapped child and whipped out a printed picture of a deformed child she found on the internet. When I called them out on their little scam, they took off running.

friendlyjhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

The city is asking us to vote yes for the millions for a new library. Isn't that asking for a big hand out to house the homeless during the day AND give Fritzel a new garage?

corduroypants 7 years, 3 months ago

I had a dude come up to me and say "You must be the coolest guy in Lawrence!" Then he asked for three bucks to help pay for a bus ticket to Topeka. Wait. So, I'm not the coolest guy in Lawrence?!

But seriously, I live downtown and I'm not giving them some stupid card.

Armored_One 7 years, 3 months ago

So how did the "homeless" manage to aquire so many bright, shiny piercings?

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 3 months ago

Why did you put the word "homeless" in quotes? Do you doubt that there is homelessness in Lawrence?

TopJayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

Alfie is from outer space. And a total idiot IMHO. Panhandlers are lazy, drug addicted, or alchoholic. Or all three. Anyone who gives them money is not only stupid, but they do perpetuate the problem.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah! Go all "old testament" on em! None of this peace and love BS. When faced with a moral/ethical problem, always ask ones self, "Who would Jesus stick it to?"

scraptown 7 years, 3 months ago

This is funny, I'm definitely seeing a shift in Lawrence. Always considered it a progressive town, but it's the same bunch of capitalist pricks as any other town I guess.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Just Google "progressive towns" and pick one.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

But we do have a nice mural downtown that "celebrates our diversity." Too bad there aren't hardly any blck people in town to lend it some truth. Wonder who pushed them out?

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

I think you're confused sullly because you're not seeing the professionals who have jobs, families, lives and don't "hang" downtown.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

Monkeyhawk is actually right. I have no problems with the "meanest" designation. But then don't try to act like Lawrence is so enlightened. Because in practice, you are not.

My wife used to go and help prepare and serve food here at the Rescue Mission in Topeka. They would never offer to help, never say thank you, and always complain. All they did was complain about the food, it was never good enough for them. Even though often times they ate better than I did that night due to the fact that a lot of restaurants here in town would donate food to them. Of course that is coming to an end because some low-life sued one of the restaurants for food poinoning. They of course lost the case, but now not so much food is getting donated. Homeless are that way due to their own lazyness and stupidity. They are also very entittled, and excpect you to give to them because well, you can.

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

"They would never offer to help, never say thank you, and always complain."

I wonder if God says the same thing about all the blessings He showers on his ungrateful creation. Hmmm...

Gene Wallace 7 years, 3 months ago

Tis October, again, and as the leaves fall, the vagrant flock migrates back to Lawrence.They know the liberal folke of Lawrence are an easy touch and that their chances of free shelter, food, and cash for booze and drugs are better here than other places in the Mid-West.

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

Indeed. How thankful are the Home Depots, American Eagles, Best Buys, etc., for the welfare they collect from the taxpayer? Or do "they never offer to help, never say thank you, and always complain" demanding more, more, more?

streetmagician 7 years, 3 months ago

Having provided testimony to the Kansas City, Mo. city council as a street magician, always remember that "BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME" is protected free speach just as you have the freedom to say "NO" to a panhandler.

impska 7 years, 3 months ago

This Spring, when I declined to give a group of homeless men the food I was bringing home for lunch from a downtown restaurant, one of them followed me down the street to my car shouting obscenities.

I agree that people should stop providing our downtown homeless with money, but I'm pretty glad I didn't stop to give the guy a patronizing pamphlet.

gatekeeper 7 years, 3 months ago

I'll say it again. This is when you call the police. You people running from the problem isn't the answer.

skinny 7 years, 3 months ago

How about just running the homeless and beggars off like they do at the Legends!! Pretty simple concept!

I shop at the legends just for that very reason. You don't have anybody asking you for money!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

If everybody just "ran them off," soon there'd be no place for them to go, and we'd need a final solution.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 3 months ago

Oddly enough, I think there'd be plenty of people around that would support such a thing if it weren't so taboo. There are plenty around that wrongly believe they have the authority to put a value on a person's life because of their socioeconomic status.

ColtDucksnort 7 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kontum1972 7 years, 3 months ago

donated money goes for Mad Dog 20/20....and women with babies...birth control pills and condoms are free...and having babies is not cheap....

Amy Heeter 7 years, 3 months ago

"Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, said he supports the effort, though he said he would like to see some of the language about panhandling money being used for drugs and alcohol toned down. "

Loring when will you realize that those who really need help are not residents of your drunk shelter? There are homeless people in this town that have never stepped foot in your doors or gone downtown to rattle people for change. The language doesn't need to be toned down, you do.

PrettyTony 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm gonna make it my business to go downtown EVERYDAY and hand panhandlers change.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 3 months ago

Then when another one is found dead in a local park due to alcohol poisoning you can proudly say you helped them

PrettyTony 7 years, 3 months ago

Where do you want them to go panhandle? IN your residential neighborhood?

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Some of them already do that in neighborhoods within walking distance of downtown and have been for years.

Moderateguy 7 years, 3 months ago

The pamphlets are a good start. We should also put up signage on the street. How about "Please don't enable the panhandlers. Give to a charity instead." It appears that the increased street patrols have also made a bit of a difference. Maybe we are finally on a path to get our town back.

Give them a card. If they turn aggressive, give them a face full of pepper spray and call the cops. Repeat.

CHKNLTL 7 years, 3 months ago

Has it occurred to anyone that some panhandlers ARE NOT homeless? They simply don't want to work and leech off of the goodness of giving in others? There's a whole crew of 'em that sit on I-70 exits in Topeka. "Broke, Disabled, and Hungry" They pool their cash and wear namebrand clothes after their shifts are over. don't give money!

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe this would be less of a hopeless gesture if the merchants had worked with charity to place collection opportunities directly on the merchants' premises. Instead of "Please don't enable the panhandlers. Give to a charity instead" perhaps the donation receptacle could on-site. You hardly have to be a retail genius to realize that the moment to strike is immediately - "call today!" not "call later when you think about it again."

Joe Blackford II 7 years, 3 months ago

“What a man can be, he must be.”` Self-actualization (Maslow)

That's the career goal I used to fill in those embarrassing "why do you want to work for our firm/school district/factory" Qs.

Apparently, Larryville is meeting these "deficiency needs":

Physiological needs - is the panhandler breathing? Got H2O & food? Reached Homeostasis?

Safety needs - does panhandler perceive that unfairness and inconsistency are under control, the familiar (small change) frequent and the unfamiliar ($100 bill) rare?

Love and belonging - does panhandler have a sense of belonging and acceptance downtown? (many comments = Yes)

Esteem - is the panhandler accepted and valued by others? (see answer in some comments above)

Or the Professional Panhandlers would move on . . . .

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Panhandlers don't hurt business. Downtown Lawernce hurts Downtown Lawrence.The merchants can scapegoat the homeless all they want, but we all know that poor city policy and unjustified dowtown rent are to blame. Who wants to come in from out of town to pay a bunch of parking tickets from the meter nazis--especially whent hey have to walk everywhere anyway? Why should I come to downtown Lawrence to shop to pay 4-times as much for some boxstore franchise corpo when they have all that same crap and more everywhere else?

The whole reason people liked Lawrence, moved here and came here to shop was because we were a different city who cared alot more about its community that most places. It had a completely different feel from anything else around. You hardly even see people protesting anymore. We had a wide range of people that gave the city a flavor like none other in the area.

If you want to try and turn this town into the "The Plaza" then go ahead, but guess what? We already have one of those in the area too. Once you run a few panhandlers off, who will you blame then? The only place that makes Lawrence feel like "Lawernce" anymore is the Merc. They're the true heart of this city now. Not downtown.

Sad to see this city try so hard to do away with made it different and special to begin with. I moved and agreed tothe higher cost of living because it was such a unique town. Not much point to hanging around Lawrence Inc. anymore.

John Hamm 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh come on. Panhandlers can (and do) make good money. Why do you think they do it? Stop giving them money and they'll move to more profitable areas.

remember_username 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't know how much of the "spare change" I've given to others is used for drugs or alcohol opposed to food or shelter. But as long as the "spare change" is used once and a while for real help then I'm satisfied.

It's the same with supporting social services. Sure, there are instances when people take advantage of the system - and that angers everybody liberal or conservative. But there are people who don't take advantage and would truly suffer if public assistance wasn't available.

I would rather give all people asking for aid the benefit or doubt if it reduces the suffering of some. I just can't be a person willing to accept the suffering of others to ensure that no one takes advantage of my generosity.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Then give the money to Bert Nash or one of the soup kitchens; these people help the homeless on a one to one basis. Used to be that some Bert Nash employees would go out in the dead of winter nights to make sure the homeless were okay and give them blankets if they didn't want to go to a shelter. Don't know if they still do that, but that is helping, not enabling.

whats_going_on 7 years, 3 months ago

good idea, but I feel like after handing out these cards, downtown will start to look like the sidewalks in Vegas, littered with those lovely little advertisements they so kindly try to shove in your face.

whats_going_on 7 years, 3 months ago

and...I'm getting disgusted now at the people down there.

The other day I was walking down there, walked by a nasty old (probably a bit crazy) panhandler, who was commenting on every woman's breasts that walked by (of course, using more colorful words)


kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Then there was the guy suffering from schizophrenia who would sit on the curb and mutter, "must not talk to women, must not talk to women". Didn't even want to know what that was about.

whats_going_on 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm wondering if thats the same guy thats been in jail for following women around and in to stores/bars downtown asking for their phone number.

Would be a bit funny if it was.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

I kind of doubt it. The guy I'm referring to was afraid to talk to women for whatever reason was in his mind.

lawrencenerd 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder what this little leaflet says about buskers. Does it say anything about the difference between busking and panhandling? I'm sure plenty of people don't know the difference, and having somebody give that to a busker as a tip would be insulting. It is a little odd to have an event like busker fest downtown and encourage people to tip the buskers, then to discourage people from tipping to try and get rid of them when there isn't some festival.

MIke Mallory 7 years, 3 months ago

I use a bunch of these guys for labor and they are alwways telling me how they make $50-$75 per day, and trust me, all they use it for is vodka, smokes and weed, The majority of these people dont want help. I have been around them for 3 years and I know for a fact this is correct,

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 3 months ago

If your story is true, why do they "labor" for you when they can get free money downtown?

MIke Mallory 7 years, 3 months ago

because they will work, and pretty hard I have to say. but they use the money I pay them for the same reason as the panhandling money they get. and as I satated before, it is for liqure, smokes and week,

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Have you tried hiring homeless instead of students?

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 3 months ago

Once those library improvements happen this should be less of a problem. Win-win-win.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Glock, your sarcasim is so subtle, I almost missed it.

Clark Coan 7 years, 3 months ago

What about a universal coupon valued at $1.00 valid at all downtown restaurants? People could buy these and give them to the panhandlers. That way it would be spent for food.

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 3 months ago

It's an idea ... but I doubt the downtown merchant class so eager to deny the homeless money would welcome them into their chichi eateries to dine on charity.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

How about edible coupons? Maybe a fruit roll-up with the DLI logo stamped into it.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

All of these are great ideas! You guys are right on! We can't have drunk, drugged up, unemployed people who leach of society and pass out in their own puke cluttering the downtown. SO LET'S PUSH THE STUDENTS OUT!!!

At least homeless people won't run you over because they're texting while drinking while driving while singing while honking...

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 3 months ago

People carry signs around saying: "ban the bums."

bd 7 years, 3 months ago

We don't shop downtown anymore because of these bums!

rgh 7 years, 3 months ago

If I support these businesses, which I do, and want to give an extra buck or two to someone down on their luck, that's my business not theirs! Maybe I'll start walking up and down Mass St. and not buying a thing and using my money to give to homeless. Quit telling patrons what they should and should not be doing on a public street.

MIke Mallory 7 years, 3 months ago

go ahead, I think you are just talking to here yourself talk, It is a opinion, people can say whatever they choose. go give your $50 to $100 on nothing but a quick high for these people. Dont think they are down on their luck and just have no way out. YOU WONT DO IT!!!!!!!

Kontum1972 7 years, 3 months ago

load them on a bus...and take them to topeka to that Phelps dude...he is suppose to be a man of god...

irvan moore 7 years, 3 months ago

how about we ask the city to quit giving money to downtown Lawrence, i don't like the way they spend "our" money.

adastrabmx 7 years, 3 months ago

Simple solution. Outlaw change downtown. Once change is outlawed, only outlaws will have change.

Everything you buy downtown is in dollar increments, and the meters only take cards.

Quarter users will be shunned out of existence.

avoice 7 years, 3 months ago

Many wonder agencies want your money to go through them so they can take half of it before giving it to those whom they deem as deserving. All this uncontrolled giving away of money and goods straight from one person to another is completely intolerable.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

I had no idea bums had so much power in our economy! In fact I just last week I heard on the radio that they were behind the mortage collapse too. Now I'm hearing whispers goin' round that the bums even made us invade Iraq. Dirty Bums! They look so harmless but Sweet Jesus the power they wield!

Joe Hyde 7 years, 3 months ago

Because downtown business owners and their employees are daily and nightly well-sited to witness what panhandled money soon gets spent on by its recipients, I would not be inclined to argue the accuracy of the downtown group representative's comment.

About everything else, I know they're right. Merchants understand how efficiency of organization and goal specialization works, they respect that each service agency can focus much better help on each homeless person's individual needs. Sure, receiving so much help from agencies is not an ideal situation for anyone to be in; just the same, it's a system that offers any homeless person a faster way to get back to how things used to be: lots more money coming in, feeling more secure, having more fun?

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

The Merchants just want someone to blame for the hard times. No one wants to talk about why people quit coming from out of town to shop here. Meter Nazis and corpo franchises they can find everywhere else. What made Lawrence special is gone...

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Okay, Sully. I've only told a few of my "bum stories" of the thirty years I've lived in Lawrence, but believe me I have many more and they are not cute warm and fuzzy. The panhandlers, drunks and crazies are the reason I rarely shop downtown; if Weaver's wasn't still there I wouldn't bother.

Some of you have made reference to Topeka's downtown. That downtown died decades ago and has been hard put to resurrect it.

Some of you talk about the panhandlers as being needy. In this town, they aren't all needy. Some people choose to be homeless and that's their perogative, but they shouldn't expect us who have worked our butts off for years to support their choice.

For those who are truely needy and homeless, there is access to free clothing, meals, shelter, medical help (including dental), mental health services and medication. Agencies will help them get social services, Medicaid and Medicare if they qualify for it. In the winter months volunteers go out on especially cold nights to check who needs blankets and checks on those who prefer not to go to shelters (or can't). Lawrence does not leave those who are truely in need adrift at sea as some of you are implying. So cut the crap.

We need to support our downtown and giving money to panhandlers is not the way to do it.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Sure Kernal. I'm all for cutting out the charity. No reason to pay 4 times as much for stuff I can get anywhere. Is it the bums or is that every town has a GAP store?

Don't talk to me about community when corpo Lawrence is pulling this one-sided crap.

I believe your words were: "Some people choose to be homeless and that's their perogative, but they shouldn't expect us who have worked our butts off for years to support their choice."

I suppose the same is true for the merchants. They chose to move into the most expensive part of town to sell things that every other town has. Go figure. But maybe the drunk students can keep us afloat?

Practicality 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe if Lawrence would allow businesses to come into Lawrence (like Lowes) then there would be less homeless people on the streets because they can find employment? Then, instead of giving them a piece of paper or some change they can give them a job.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence is not preventing Lowe's from coming here.

There are a number of locations that are zoned for a business of that size.

Practicality 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, and Lowes doesn't believe that those locations will be profitable, so they are electing to go elsewhere. Whereby Lawrence loses the benefits of having the store to include jobs and tax revenue, which both help the city of Lawrence and its residents, to include the homeless.

Practicality 7 years, 3 months ago

Now come on None2, you usually are more sensible than that. One cannot compare a stockyard, which clearly violates many things in public nuisance laws, not the least of which is contamination from water runoff, to a Lowes store. There is a public health concern with a stock yard, not with a Lowes. By your own admission you have stated that you would be ok with Lowes in another location in town. You would not make that statement about a stockyard would you?

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh, I think there is plenty of odor behind Lowe's, but it's more metaphorical than physical. Besides, have you ever been behind a propane-powered forklift? That's a wretched odor I hope to never have to live with again.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

I doubt that most of the panhandlers downtown will apply for Lowe's jobs.

newmedia 7 years, 3 months ago

Don't just give them change. Give them Hope and Change!! Yuk Yuk Yuk

7 years, 3 months ago

Here's a great article on pre-paid credit cards that were given to homeless people in Toronto’s and their purchases were tracked:

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

That's interesting.

Any articles like that based in the US?

sandrat83 7 years, 3 months ago

Stop givn money and they will leave. Feel bad 4 them but get a job people

Russell Fryberger 7 years, 3 months ago

I find if you walk right on by, the guilty feeling of having a job and working for your money will pass.

Megan Green Stuke 7 years, 3 months ago

Once, when I was a kid (in the small town where I grew up), we were on our way home from church and we passed a man with a sign - I think it was a "will work for food" deal. My mom got home was getting dinner, and decided she couldn't in good conscience sit down to our nice meal knowing that man was hungry out there. We were not a family of means, but she left the house, went back, and bought that man a meal at a decent restaurant.

I learned a lot that day about "charity." I don't suppose my mom would give money to every panhandler she ran across in Lawrence, but she did make a decision that day to put her money where here Christianity was.

Who knows if he was really hungry, or what he really wanted, but it wasn't for her to judge. She fed him. Once.

If that is enabling, so be it, but I think a little more of that "I seem to have a lot, let me share with someone who has nothing" attitude can't hurt us.

benanhalt 7 years, 3 months ago

I like to give change to the panhandlers. They provide the valuable service of annoying the respectable folk. Money well earned.

persevering_gal 7 years, 3 months ago

If this is how the merchant's feel about not providing loose change to panhandlers, they won't see a dime from my pocket. I usually don't provide loose change to panhandlers anyway, I provide with other methods by offering to pay for some food. If they don't take me up on that offer, I know they probably weren't going to purchase something "productive". Right now, I really want to smack Jenn Pennington for her tasteless comments. Not everyone on the streets is a drunk or chose to live the way they are living. Go talk to them and hear their stories, you may be surprised!

“We need to convince the public that the money they give panhandlers really will not help them,” said Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. “The small amount that most people can afford to give is not enough to help the individual, and a lot of times the money they do receive is not used for very productive purposes.”

whats_going_on 7 years, 3 months ago

but what happens when it gets to the point where the panhandlers harass the downtown patrons, like what I mentioned above. If that happened all the time, I don't think I would go shop down there anymore. Extremely uncomfortable.

MIke Mallory 7 years, 3 months ago

you my friend are very blinded. I have heard their stories, I had one tell me he served in Iraq and was just back and down on his luck so i would feel sorry for him and work him. I came to find out he just got out of prison and used all his money on crack cocaine.. There might be 1-10 of them that want help. The rest want handouts

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

I think I'll cut out the middle-man and bring them some beer.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

As a matter of fact, I might just sit down and have a beer with them...

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

I normally give them a buck or so. I think now on, I'll bump it to ten if they'll go hang around Downtown Lawrnce Inc for a while.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Let's see. They walk around with their hands out. They're always bugging you for your hard earned money and if they say thank you, they really don't mean it. Sometimes, they'll just take it too. They're really selfish and don't care what impact they have on the rest of us. Their an eye-sore; everywhere you go, there they are polluting the ground they walk on and hastling you because all they want is more. They're always devising new schemes to manipulate your emotions and part you with yet more of your money. And worst of all, they all look and sound the same and look down on you because you don't look like they do.

Yep. Sounds just like a corporation to me, eh Jean?

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

Matthew 25: 35-40 "‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ "

Kristine Bailey 7 years, 3 months ago

"I was kicked out of the homeless shelter" read the sign of a lady with a baby in a stroller. Mother fat, baby perfectly fat. And a Stoller? I felt like standing next to her with a sign the says "What do you have to do to get KICKED OUT OF THE HOMELESS SHELTER, WHEN YOU NEED HELP FOR YOUR BABY? Clearly the whole thing was BS!!!! Give me the little card.

Deb Engstrom 7 years, 3 months ago

I believe that this lady was kicked out of the shelter and I think it was for refusing to sign papers accepting help for her child.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 3 months ago

Another fun thing to do is give them some foreign coins that look close enough to American money. Make sure not to use Canadian cash or anything that might actually be useful in the area. Personally, I use old ore or kronor if i am feeling generous.

Boosh 7 years, 3 months ago

I'd give money to someone with a sign that said...

“Smile if you masturbate. Spare change if you like it.”

Matt Schwartz 7 years, 3 months ago

don't you have some college students to bother?

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

Just went downtown to find some homeless people to drop a couple bucks on. Paid my 25 cents for 30 minutes of parking privelage to keep me in the good graces of the meter nazi and set out find all the bums destroying our beautiful downtown. Kinda hard to spot 'em through all the people out shopping, though--especially since none of them bothered to hastle us for money. We did find a couple of poor souls and gave them each a few bucks. We walked right on by all of the downtown merchant shops, got in the car, and went out to Rees Fruit Farm this side of Topeka to do our shopping for the day. On the way back, we swung into Lecompton to check out a hometown butchershop. It was great little trip and all Lawrence got out of us was 25 cents.

oliveoyl 7 years, 3 months ago

So let me get this straight...and maybe I'm wrong but you won't support Downtown because they don't like the homeless and the homeless haters don't want to support Downtown because they allow it. It's sad to hear you be so proud of not spending any money locally.

Both sides sound extreme, standing at opposite corners, equal partners in a mystery.

While I think your heart and intentions are in the right place, don't you think it's extreme to punish Downtown for what the DLI is trying to do? Just an FYI, that not all businesses Downtown are apart of the DLI. It's not mandatory.

Maybe I have this all wrong or misunderstanding what you are saying...

Cooky_the_Cook 7 years, 3 months ago

Way to go! You wasted a bunch of time and gasoline, enabled a drug abuser, insulted a public employee, and downplayed the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime... all in one day!

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

All far better options than enabling the heartless, assumptive and the posh. Besides, the student loan program is probably a far bigger enabler of drug abusers than i'll ever be. As for nazis, they were enabled by people who just did what they were told.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

Because they were undereducated and acted in fear of what they did not understand. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

it does. especially when some corpo zombie-woman tells everyone to jump and, on cue, people start panicing over a few homeless as if they're going to destroy our beloved downtown vaterland. I love how 'substance abuse,' the heart and soul of the Lawrence economy, is now the justification to push them out. Whatever makes us feel righteous and superior, I suppose. Whatever it takes, as long as we don't have to see them.

Perhaps the most insideous part of all of this is the attempt to lay blame, first at the feet of the homeless for a bad economy, and second on those who flip a bum a quarter in hard times.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

The plain fact is that many people will not go downtown as much as they might otherwise because of panhandlers.

Business owners are understandably upset by this fact.

Helping people and enabling them are different things - donating to charities which actually help people is a better way to spend money than giving it to them if it will be used in self-destructive ways.

I don't understand why any would be against the idea of contributing to charities, and making information about where to get help available to folks who are having a tough time.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how much thought, beyond the cost benefit analysis of customers lost vs. gained, was given to how this policy translates into the community by D.L. Inc., the city, and the downtown merchants. Assuming most citizens dutifully abide by the insulting practice of presenting pamphlets in lieu of money, the real message being sent is 'Bums aren't welcome here." It will cast not just the spotlight of exclusion on them, but will place them into an unwanted underclass. For some, the homeless will become subhuman and if we've learned anything from the myriad of wars we've been in (which includes many of the homeless), it's that before people will act violently, they must first dehumanize their victim. For those with the proclivity to do so, this policy codifies the subhuman status of homelessness. In this very thread, we have already seen some who find it acceptible to intentionally decieve the homeless with fake or useless foreign currency.

They think it's funny to get their hopes up through a false act of kindness.

While most who sympathize with this policy will simply do no more than hand out this condescension incarnate as they were instructed, a few are sure to see it as a green light to take it to another level. If allowed to continue, this policy and this message end only in disgusting harrasment and a potentially violent retribution against these people.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess I would have to ask how naive a person has to be to believe this is about the act of "panhandling" alone. This is about getting the homeless out of downtown, which is why the merchants and the city have been trying to get homeless services moved further away for some time now.

No one wants to talk about how we sold out our downtown the moment we allowed all the franchises to move in. Why would anyone from out of town drive all the way to Lawrence to come shop at The Gap when every town has one already? The merchants are feeling the pinch of the economic slowdown and think pushing the homeless out is the answer.

We have to be naive to a point of conscious effort to believe this is motivated by anything resembling a desire to help the homeless.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

sully's comments are bizarre.

Giving people information on where they can get help is hardly the kind of dehumanizing act you seem to think it.

In fact, one could argue that it is more humane than enabling self-destructive behavior by simply giving people money that gets spent on such activities.

sully97 7 years, 3 months ago

The fact that we're even talking about pushing an entire group of people out of the public domain should suffice as all the evidence we need. Do you really think the homeless in our town don't already know what services are offered here? Do you really think they all live in such a bubble that they don't talk to each other and pass that type of information around? Handing out these wasted pieces of paper serves only one purpose: to allow us to feel good about oursleves for singling out a group of people and summarily removing them from the public space. Out of sight, out of mind. That's all this is about.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

I find it silly that you keep talking about pushing people out of the public domain - that's not what we're discussing.

If they are all already aware of the various places that can help them, then I suppose we don't need to pass that information on to them, but can simply stop giving them money.

Personally, I thought it was a nice idea to offer them information they might not have, but if it's useless, ...

gudpoynt 7 years, 3 months ago

In future news:

"Pamphlets Excellent Fuel for Warming Homeless"

Meatwad 7 years, 3 months ago

Yay for the DLI! I think more needs to be done to educate people, but this is a start. Giving to charities that help people who actually want help is the way to go. People need to do that instead of giving their cash directly to panhandlers. 99% of the time, they want the money so they can buy drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. Please stop enabling them and give your money to the organizations who actually do some good, like Family Promise, Bert Nash and many others.

Meatwad 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't think handing the bums "info cards" is going to help. But I hope that people read the cards and realize it's much better to give to charity organizations who actually help them and not to the bums who just want the money for drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.

Meatwad 7 years, 3 months ago

Sadly a lot of people avoid shopping downtown because of the bums. I hope this works. They ruin our nice downtown.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

The largest problem for downtown Lawrence merchants that is seemingly being ignored by Downtown Lawrence Inc is the move to kill downtown retail by west side developers and the Chamber.

Case in point:

By Kim McClure

July 24, 2009

To the editor:

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty.

Lawrence has enough spending to support about 4.1 million square feet of retail space, but the City Commission permitted developers to expand the supply to over 5.5 million square feet.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten. Investment, both public and private, is wasted. The taxpayers’ $8 million parking garage stands largely empty. The Hobbs-Taylor building and the 600 block of Massachusetts should be the top performing spaces in the community, but they have significant vacancies.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

It will take many, many years to absorb this surplus space and, until this happens, it will be hard for downtown to compete. We can only look forward to many years of high vacancy and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply so as to protect our unique downtown.

McClure is from Lawrence

sissezz 7 years, 2 months ago

Didnt have time to read all the comments.........but who is gonna pick up all those pieces of paper we are supposed to hand out? CUZ i know they are gonna end up on the street.

sissezz 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh by the way.... hand a guy scare me and my daughter to death at a Mcdonalds drive-thru.... just as it was getting dark. He asked for money to get gas right when i was placing my order..... scared the crap outta me as i didnt see him til he was in the window of my car with his hand out..... i offered him some food but he wanted the CASH

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