News Jul 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

The PBA's Re-Hashing an Old Anti-Panhandling Battle Cry—This Time with Stats!


You write: "Earlier this year, an article in the Oregonian collected the opinions of Portland homeless advocates. Many, though not all, argued giving cash to panhandlers is counterproductive, since there's a chance the money will go toward alcohol or drugs."

But then: "Which means the concern about giving to panhandlers is largely coming from the PBA"

And you also mention: "The social services agencies partnering with the PBA" so presumably the concern is also coming from them.

You write: "The vast majority of people panhandling (70 percent) were homeless Portlanders"

Meaning a full 30% are not.

You write: "That's far less than the "nine out of 10" panhandlers officials told the Oregonian would use the money for drugs or alcohol back in 1989."

Anything newer than 26 years old?

"In fact, money isn't always an easy fix. Without more affordable housing, more jobs, and higher wages, social services say they're stuck fighting an unwinnable war."

So before we try anything, we have to solve everything.

What we need to do is put permanent signs with lock boxes for dropping in money around downtown. Signs that say don't give to panhandlers, put money in here in order to help local agencies. It would work. Simply telling people to do it won't work.
"there's a chance the money will go toward alcohol or drugs" That's rich, you can get food for free all over portland, it isn't a chance that panhandled money is being spent on drugs and booze, it is a fact that is what panhandlers spend the money on.
Because all of the hundreds of drunk, drug-addicted, mentally-ill, professional bums I see wandering around with their shopping carts all over Portland and aggressively panhandling on virtually every street corner in the heart of downtown just need affordable housing, right? That will so solve everything! Why haven't we done this yet!!???
If instead of paying for endless foreign wars we spent a few hundred billion dollars on ending homelessness at the federal level, like giving people free single-payer healthcare, and guilt-free drug treatment, mental healthcare, and social services, our "homelessness" issues would evaporate. In many other first world countries (and by that I mean European socialist countries *GASP*) homelessness is looked on with sympathy rather than contempt like it is here, because social structures exist to get people off the street, off drugs, and get them to be productive members of society. Again, unlike here. Unless you count prison.
Good topic, thanks. A great alternative to giving cash is giving Sisters of the Road meal coupons. Non judgemental conversation and socialization happens there. That is an important ingredient for homeless to move on with their lives.
Funny the PBA sees no connection between their previously influenced policy maneuvers and the unpleasantness of street people. Before Mayor Hales "war on the streets" (which was used to kick off and make way for the whole gentrification party) things were a lot more peaceful, people were a lot more pleasant, and volunteers and charity givers did it for the fun of it.

Fuck the PBA
People will still be dying in doorways this winter as with every winter. The PBA expects the home less to passively carry their baggage into the ovens of winter. It has reached proportions of having to fend for ones own self preservation. Or the PBA would probably have them killed. It would be totally legal for a relief camp to form and protect them form, but these phychopaths...with force if necessary. These people are.our families that had their homes stolen by criminal bankers, but they get off Scottfree? Since 2008, there are 5 million more homeless and more gentrification to come.
The Social Service agencies get their hands on the money, pay themselves a generous wage, then feed the homeless rescue food.
Rather than donate to profit making non-profits, take a bum out to lunch. Buy him some shoes, socks, and shorts.
noble effort that...give no $. take a few minutes, buy a pack o socks ( they're cheap at Ross SW or any Fred's ). give a pair to a panhandler instead of $. after awhile others might start doing it too.
panhandling/homelessness is NOT the citizen's problem. it's a character flaw of society.
there's always Tigard.
this breaks my heart because i am homeless to i just collect cans and bottles to make money but i do not drink booze or do any drugs, instead i go get hot good food, anywhys, when he sayed that it really hit me hard that he meant all of the homeless do drugs and drink beer, this is not true at all, plus teckonly we all not homeless we living in god land and we smarter than you think but it hard seeing everyone sin, we still have faith.
How much does the average citizen give to the social service agencies and how much do they give directly to beggars? Cut out the middle man and give the annual total directly to one poor person, all at once. Instead of say, twenty bucks to the Salvation Army, and fifty cents per week to random homeless individuals, spend forty or fifty bucks, one time per year only, on a decent pair of shoes to someone obviously in need? After that, just say to the human commercial interrupters: "I already gave."
Money given to JOIN or TPI or Central City Concern will only go so far, what with the administration of it, but get entangled in stipulations ... getting on years-long housing list waits that often result in wild-wild-west bedlamite roach hotel dereliction less safe, sanitary and dignified than most doorways, engaging in case management and recovery programs, and all around being a good seal barking haplessly on a broken turnstile of the underbelly of the American Dream.

I don't see where any money would do any good if even college grads who never were beset by voices or beleaguered by debilitating addictions despair at being able to find more than a few crumbs lefts of that apple pie consumer capitalism has mythologized the metaphor for our material aspirations. Just let the bums suck on their bottles and smoke their pipes, and those more affluent watch re-runs of Max Headroom whenever we go over our investment portfolios.

And let the good times roll.

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