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Jacqueline

A lot of the "homeless" beggars are really scam artists who have nice homes. They just make more money (with less effort) begging than they do getting a real job. Try offering a job to one of those people begging with a sign claiming they want to work. My friend used to own a hotel and tried to hire some of those people to work in his housekeeping department -- they either wouldn't work for him because they were making much more money begging, or because he wouldn't allow them to drink all day long. Or try buying a bus ticket for a beggar who claims to be stranded. My ex-husband and I did that, bought a guy a bus ticket to Eugene, Oregon. We saw him a couple of months later, still in town, this time begging for money for a bus ticket to New York (he gets more money cashing that one out, I suppose). Then my ex-husband saw him a couple months after that, getting off the bus with his begging sign, walking up to a nice condo building and letting himself in the security gate with a key. I've heard many other stories of people observing beggars driving up in nice cars, parking them out of the way, getting out their sign and then "going to work" on the street corner.

Since you can't know if that beggar is a scam artist or not, it's better to give the money to organizations who help the homeless. I especially like teen feed programs, since not only do they feed homeless teenagers (who really can't just get a job and a place to live, since for minors that requires parental permission -- and these kids have usually left home because their parents abused them or kicked them out) but they often connect them to other social services to help them get their lives together.

AJE

Deciding to donate goods direct to the homeless does not obstruct all other acts: i think they're complements not substitutes.

Certainly we've all heard tales of well-off "career" beggers, and frankly we'd all like to believe it was as simple as that. Perhaps my charity was less random than I described - learning a little about the plight of local homeless people must surely be encouraged. I had confidence that my present would be found by a local chap, clearly homeless.

"Career" beggers are a reason to find out more information before giving a helping hand, not a reason to just give up.

SL

Jacqueline: A lot of the "Libertarian" businessmen are really scam artists who hate paying taxes. They preach Libertarianism because that's the best way for the rich to retain their power.

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