Panhandling in Memphis

Last week I was exiting 240 onto Lamar Ave when I saw a man asking for money. He had his cardboard sign up that said “homeless and hungry”. I am a sucker for giving into people who are asking for help; it pulls at my heart strings and I try and always provide them with something, whether it be food or a couple of dollars. However, this time as I was about to pull out my wallet the man saw a cop who was driving by and he quickly hid his sign and walked away from the cars in the street.

The next day that I was in class I brought this situation up and it was brought to my attention that panhandling is illegal in the city of Memphis. Call me naive, but I honestly had no clue. Before writing this blog I read up on the policies put in place to prevent panhandling and also a few site with statistics provided about panhandlers in general. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt so when people are humbling themselves to ask for money or food I usually think that they are being real.

Now that I see the numbers that show the amount of times money given to panhandlers has been used to buy alcohol or drugs it really changes my outlook on the whole thing. I read somewhere that said if a person who is asking for money, food or help they are usually going to provide a service or skill along with them asking, such as: musical performances, shoe shining, selling newspapers and other street vending options. Most every article that I read wrapped up by invoking passion to help out in with the organizations that provide shelter and food to the homeless and impoverished so that they can help to the best of their abilities.

As I looked into some of the options and organizations that provide food and shelter for the homeless around the city of Memphis I saw many ways that these could be improved and promoted. I believe there needs to be more word out about numbers, facts, and information on how you can help out in a way you are passionate about while also finding a way to better provide services to meet needs in an effective and cost friendly way for the homeless community. I also feel that more awareness will instill moral in our community to help.

21 thoughts on “Panhandling in Memphis

  1. Yeah great article. I wonder if some of the abandoned houses the City buys up can be part of a solution to the homelessness problem. Maybe having a community organization spread the word on an “Home for the Homeless ” program, that renovates dilapidated houses throughout Memphis, to give the homeless a place to stay, get work, and eventually find their own place. Having codes of conduct for the locations will be a must, and spreading light on the variety of causes of homelessness can be ideal for all as well. Great post! Now, the question is, What can we do?

    • Thank you for your feedback on my post! It means a lot. I love the idea of having houses consumed by the city to flip and have as a Home for the Homeless. I was in my Nonprofit class yesterday and a man came in who has years of experience working with the homeless and especially those with an illness as well. I started to look around reading more articles and it has really sparked a fire in me to help more. I have signed to volunteer places so I can get more information on what it is like to work with the homeless community so then hopefully I can get more involved through that.

  2. It’s great that you want to help the community but be very careful. People who are homeless would usually sell newspapers and shoe shine. Around Christmas time, panhandlers are very prominent when most of time these are people who have nice looking cars and homes. I would rather help those homeless people who really want help because some of them do only want money to buy drugs and alcohol. Watch this video on youtube and you see that some homeless people don’t want to work, I believe in helping those who want to help themselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGazT3GUFgo

    • Thank you so much for your feedback. I am definitely being precautious when looking how to help. I loved that video, thanks for sharing!

  3. There is a huge misconception with homeless, and those who live places such as public housing. People associate poverty with being lazy, when in reality a good number of homeless and extreme poor are employed, but are not recognized for it. I love seeing places that try and help support the homeless population by offering free dry cleaning or help with interviewing skills. There are several stereotypes and assumptions to be made about homeless, but a few bad seeds panhandling when they are not in need, does not make up the masses.

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  8. lol beans. Thank you for your feedback on my post! It means a lot. I love the idea of having houses consumed by the city to flip and have as a Home for the Homeless. I was in my Nonprofit class yesterday and a man came in who has years of experience working with the homeless and especially those with an illness as well. I started to look around reading more articles and it has really sparked a fire in me to help more. I have signed to volunteer places so I can get more information on what it is like to work with the homeless community so then hopefully I can get more involved through that.

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