Before You Pan Panhandling…

Most of us have been approached by “street people” looking for a handout and wonder what to do in this situation. Do I give?….Is there a real need?….Is this a con job?…  It’s impossible to know the answer to these questions, but one thing is clear, panhandling is a degrading and humiliating experience for all parties, and to make matters worse, most municipalities are looking to regulate this practice in some way without focusing on connecting people to appropriate housing, employment services and other supports so that they do not need to beg for basic human needs. Minneapolis is making some positive strides in this latter regard, having connected 235 people to permanent housing since late 2007, and the results of this effort are often totally life changing for the former street people.  “Give Real Change” is the banner under which this Minneapolis/Hennepin County program is conducted, and their web site, giverealchange.org has more information on how you can contribute to this worthy cause and know that all funds collected go directly to street outreach with no administrative costs.

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