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Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2010

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

October 14, 2010

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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.”

Comments

sissezz 3 years, 6 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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sissezz 3 years, 6 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.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 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

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul/24/retail-space/?letters_to_editor

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Meatwad 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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Meatwad 3 years, 6 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.

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Meatwad 3 years, 6 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.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 6 months ago

In future news:

"Pamphlets Excellent Fuel for Warming Homeless"

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 6 months ago

Build it and they will come... Feed them and they will stay.

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jafs 3 years, 6 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.

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sully97 3 years, 6 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.

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gvnobas 3 years, 6 months ago

Are these imbeciles really telling me what to do with my money? I think I will give more now...

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

If I was a homeless person or hot dog vendor I would nickname Jane Pennington the Wicked Witch of Mass Street

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jafs 3 years, 6 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.

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sully97 3 years, 6 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.

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Cooky_the_Cook 3 years, 6 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!

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sully97 3 years, 6 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.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

The Downtown Merchants want that money for their own businesses. Again, SAve Downtown at any cost.

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Boosh 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 6 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.

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jstthefacts 3 years, 6 months ago

skinny (Richard Johnson) says… "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!!"

Aah, skinny, you have pointed out one of the benefits the homeless and or panhandlers situation provides. When I shop downtown, I don't have to worry about walking on the same side of the street with you and other people like you. Sorta of a natural filter that actually makes lawrence a better place to shop. Score one for the homeless and the panhandlers. You have just admitted, at the very least, they might be better human beings than you are.

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Rancho 3 years, 6 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.

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deec 3 years, 6 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.’ "

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sully97 3 years, 6 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?

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 6 months ago

  • “The people who really need help in the community, by and large, know where to get it,” Pennington said. *

Wow, Mean Jean! A possible exception = the mentally ill who have been driven into homelessness on the streets by those who "Saved" them from being in institutions where they might have received the care they need.

I tend to agree that, over the longer term, programs to get people off the streets are a better target for your charity; but in the short term, the very immediate term, I don't feel bad about contributing to whatever brings them a little momentary relief ... be it a burger, some smokes, a 40, or whatever.

The program I think would help the most would be to re-open the State Hospitals in some new kinder and gentler form, and quit pretending that "Community Based Services" are going to cut it for a group of people whose need for services encompasses their utter inability to recognize that need and seek help. How many desperately mentally ill people are going to read the Snob Card and go seek help?

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sully97 3 years, 6 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.

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sully97 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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Fear_Completes_Me 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm tired of all you socialist elites trying to make government infringe on these capitalists trying to generate capital. I love America more than you.

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sully97 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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persevering_gal 3 years, 6 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.”

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benanhalt 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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sputum 3 years, 6 months ago

Fantastic! Was wondering what to do on this marvelous evening. Think I'll hit downtown with all the change from the jars on top of my dresser. These poor folks need help now more than ever.

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Megan Green Stuke 3 years, 6 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.

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Russell Fryberger 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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sandrat83 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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3 years, 6 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: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/854018--how-panhandlers-use-free-credit-cards

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newmedia 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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Practicality 3 years, 6 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.

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Joe Hyde 3 years, 6 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?

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sully97 3 years, 6 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!

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avoice 3 years, 6 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.

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

Yellowstone park has signs that say not to feed the bears.

Why is that? The poor bears need the diverse diet. They are hungry. If they are not fed then they will have to kill a sweet helpless fawn. Not feeding bears is a stupid rule. It's not likely if they are fed, they are going to hang around or something and become obnoxious.

Not feeding the hungry bear must be stopped.

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adastrabmx 3 years, 6 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.

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irvan moore 3 years, 6 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.

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CWGOKU 3 years, 6 months ago

I dress like a bum, so they leave me alone. Works at Car Dealerships too.

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Kontum1972 3 years, 6 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...

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rgh 3 years, 6 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.

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bd 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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Oracle_of_Rhode 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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sully97 3 years, 6 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...

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Clark Coan 3 years, 6 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.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Of course, they need to make a living wage.

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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lionbacker 3 years, 6 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,

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lawrencenerd 3 years, 6 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.

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jackbinkelman 3 years, 6 months ago

I pass my spare change over freely as salary for the color and grit panhandlers add to downtown lawrence. If You don't want to give to panhandlers, don't.

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roscoepoet 3 years, 6 months ago

I give regularly to the bunny, he doesn't buy drugs or alcohol...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83731368@N00/5078880305/

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whats_going_on 3 years, 6 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)

Ugh.

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whats_going_on 3 years, 6 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.

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remember_username 3 years, 6 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.

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TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

Eh oh Larryvillers,

"Bring out your dead (clang clang) Bring out your dead"

Leave the buggers alone!!

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OonlyBonly 3 years, 6 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.

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sully97 3 years, 6 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.

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Joe Blackford II 3 years, 6 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 . . . .

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Jimo 3 years, 6 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."

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CHKNLTL 3 years, 6 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!

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Moderateguy 3 years, 6 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.

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PrettyTony 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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edjayhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Not going to change anything. People give because they don't want to be hassled. The only cure is to kick them out of downtown.

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PrettyTony 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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Amy Heeter 3 years, 6 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.

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Kontum1972 3 years, 6 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....

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autie 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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ColtDucksnort 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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jstthefacts 3 years, 6 months ago

"Downtown Lawrence Inc" is a bigger nuisance to downtown than the panhandler. They do more to run of business than panhandlers.

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macon47 3 years, 6 months ago

lawrencians need to continue to support the drug and alcohol needs of the homeless panhandlers.

we are kinder and gentler just like our football team

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skinny 3 years, 6 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!!

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impska 3 years, 6 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.

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streetmagician 3 years, 6 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.

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Gandalf 3 years, 6 months ago

How about the CID tax handout Lowe's wanted? Do the merchants suppoert corporate wellfare?

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Gene Wallace 3 years, 6 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.

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TopJayhawk 3 years, 6 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.

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scraptown 3 years, 6 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.

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TopJayhawk 3 years, 6 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.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

I would be short mass St right now. that is all.

Jim Cramer.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

maybe downtown is getting worried that the football tourism boat is sinking fast

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parrotuya 3 years, 6 months ago

Wrong in so many ways. What do the homeless want? Not money or a shelter. They want booze and cigarettes. So carry some extra booze and cigs when you go downtown from now on just in case!

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

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Armored_One 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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corduroypants 3 years, 6 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.

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onceagain 3 years, 6 months ago

But why is it OK for the downtown merchants to constantly ask for handouts from city?

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friendlyjhawk 3 years, 6 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?

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Richard Andrade 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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MaryKatesPillStash 3 years, 6 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.

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence's sister cities in Japan and Germany do not allow panhandlers to pester people.

When I'm asked for money I appologize that I am broke and ask them for money. Then I will ask again telling them that I know they have some and that they should give me some.

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liberallibrarian 3 years, 6 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.

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lllwll 3 years, 6 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.

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scott3460 3 years, 6 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.

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toe 3 years, 6 months ago

If the city thinks you have enough money to give it away, they will want to raise taxes.

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pace 3 years, 6 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.

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Eride 3 years, 6 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...

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sad_lawrencian 3 years, 6 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.

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pace 3 years, 6 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.

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overplayedhistory 3 years, 6 months ago

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kernal 3 years, 6 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.

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gccs14r 3 years, 6 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.

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JustNoticed 3 years, 6 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.

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IndusRiver 3 years, 6 months ago

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IndusRiver 3 years, 6 months ago

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Richard Payton 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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Isabelle 3 years, 6 months ago

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

I AGREE!!! Have you ever been accosted by someone asking for money? I have.

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pizzapete 3 years, 6 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.

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irvan moore 3 years, 6 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?

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gatekeeper 3 years, 6 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.

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sully97 3 years, 6 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...

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 6 months ago

Asking taxpayers to pay your transportation costs (the empT) is a form of begging. Maybe we should give them cards too?

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TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

Eh oh Buddies,

I always have spare change to give my buddies. They buy Tubby Toast and Tubby Custard so they can continue on their trip.

You should always be nice to the homeless and less fortunate. There is one guy that hasn't worked for years. He did some work for the Capital Journal several years ago. Since then he, his wife and daughter have been on and off welfare because he can't hold a career. His wife is a teacher and the bread winner. I always try to help him out. He doesn't believe in God, we talk, he is an agnostic. He is bitter at the world, I won't give him money for a Tubby Custard, he has to earn it.

There are others that aren't lazy, just a string of bad luck and bad decisions. They can have a Tubby Custard, they're not lazy. They are my buddies.

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 6 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."

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scribe 3 years, 6 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.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

Downtown is turning into a circus side show. I'm still waiting for the great hot dog riots to start.

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scribe 3 years, 6 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.

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CrazyUkrainian1 3 years, 6 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.

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 6 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.

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monkeyhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence is mean to homeless people.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 3 years, 6 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.

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Steve Bunch 3 years, 6 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.

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tolawdjk 3 years, 6 months ago

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

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