$50.00 an hour….panhandling

We have all seen them in our downtown area, the gruff looking individual that approaches you and ask you for a couple of bucks so he can buy a meal. Being good people we all have fallen for their stories and given money. But what is the truth? View the following video that profiles an undercover investigation by a Salt lake City, Utah reporter;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krg5r6n0kr4&feature=player_embedded

A couple of interesting quotes from Ms. Pamela Atkinson, the homeless advocate with the Volunteers of America interviewed in this video.  When speaking of panhandlers she says,” they are just getting money to support their style of living or their drug or alcohol habit”. Further in the interview she adds that “70% of panhandlers are not in the situation they claim”.  The summary of the video piece concluded that one should only give to soup kitchens, charities or churches that you know that you know are working to get people back on their feet. But what if you don’t know the organization is filtering those individuals that use their facility? The Panama City rescue mission by their own admission really have no idea who is really going in and out of their facility. They have hundreds of people with a variety of criminal records as one can easily see by viewing our “top ten” postings. The rescue mission is the draw for these people. We as tax paying citizens of Panama City should not have to settle for having our community taken over by the vagrant community. The rescue mission has responsibilities to the community from which it ask financial support. Rescue Mission management needs to come to the table and offer solutions that allow those truly in need to be taken care of while allowing downtown to blossom again as a thriving commercial and retail area. The rescue mission needs to acknowledge the secondary effects of what they do within the walls of their facility and how it effects the community around them.

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