Begging on Street Corners
A Typical Scene On A Local Corner
Can You Help Me?
Have you seen them? Most major intersections in Austin host at least one person looking for a handout. The signs they carry range from humorous to serious. The one theme evident with each of them is their plea for help!
Most of these individuals extend their invite for a handout while cars wait at stoplights. You can see them pace the sidewalks or grassy areas along the road with card board signs that plead their case, while they check out each individual car, hoping to make eye contact with a driver.
Walking the Traffic Island
You might see a bag with a hamburger, a bottle of water, or a bill pass from a car. There are many Austinites with generous hearts who are compelled to give.
You will often see the same individual on the same corner over a period of time. There seems to be a sense of ownership to the real estate. Many are homeless and consider this their main source of income. Standing on a corner waiting for the next dollar can be serious business!
Groups of Homeless
If the weather is bad or the traffic is slow, you may see a group of homeless people sitting under a bridge. They will sometimes take turns on the corner while the others remain concealed around the corner. Working in teams, they provide the labor resource for a street corner or area of intersections.
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To Give Or Not To Give
There are several things to consider when giving to the needs of these individuals. Drinking and drugging are prominent among the homeless population. Cash may be used to buy drink or drugs. There is food and shelter available to the homeless. The Salvation Army and other organizations specifically target this population to provide housing and shelter. My experience tells me that many of the homeless that we see on street corners don't like the rules and regulations imposed on them through these agencies and organizations.
I think that food donated to these individuals is often rejected. Still, I feel it is a great way to respond to the need in a practical manner. I recommend food gifts over monetary gifts unless you know the specifics of the case. The bottom line is to listen to your heart and be true to what you feel you should do.