City Paper Weighs In on Panhandling Fight

The Nashville City Paper’s editorial column takes a strong stand today in the panhandling debate. (I would link to the story, but can’t find anything that doesn’t require you to open their new ActivePaper site – which is a huge pain, by the way). Anyway, the City Paper board seems to largely agree with some of the sentiments shared on this site over the last few days, namely that:

To end the giving to panhandlers is the correct first step. Delivering help and a way out of the lifestyle to those who want it must then happen next.

If we want to truly end the pandhandling problem downtown, we have to understand the root causes and work to address them as well. Stopping the flow of cash to those begging for it must be the first step, but it can’t be the only step. Telling people to simply not give cash to panhandlers is nothing more than a stopgap solution. That said, we must also all be in agreement that something must be done. As the editorial says:

Panhandling downtown has reached an unacceptable level and must be curtailed. . . No one – tourists or locals – wants to frequent any area of commerce if it is associated with uncomfortable confrontation. People do not take their families out to eat, shop and see attractions in places they know in advance will be unpleasant.

Perhaps we can put in place a true coalition – business leaders, homeless rights advocates, downtown dwellers – and actually make some progress on this issue.

4 Comments so far

  1. Anon (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 2:16 pm
  2. Kate O' (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

    Wow, that’s one hell of a URL. (URhell? Ugh, sorry. I’m sick, please excuse my cornball humor.)

  3. Elisa (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 12:44 am

    The cause for the increasing problem of the homeless ‘panhandler’ is the lack of consideration by the general population. Did you ever stop to think that the solution might be to actually care about the person in need and help them? Yes, that includes giving of your substance. The reason many homeless people remain so is that they can not find the help that they need in the so called ‘social service’ system. Not everybody who asks for help is on drugs and alcohol. The fact is that the homeless can be anybody, including you. Having a home and being able to work today does not ensure having it tomorrow. Health fails, disaster strikes, jobs are lost. If the system that is set up for aid was able to prevent and end homelessness then this situation would not currently be. Sure, it may work for some people, but not all. If the population of any given city decided that they were going to make a stand to GIVE to people experiancing homelessness not only would they find ease of the problem, but joy in helping, and help when they themselves need it. So when a homeless person approaches you, what do you see? Someone less than you? Try looking in a mirror and seeing yourself denied a meal or change when you need it. Picture you suffering lack because somebody ‘assumed’ that you were on drugs and not truly desperate for the help which will continually be denied you. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? YOU WILL.

  4. Andrew (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    I think my post does advocate consideration, generosity and the giving of one’s own substance – just not directly from our hands to those of the panhandlers. A different route of giving doesn’t diminish the gift.

    I would argue that giving through other channels actually helps increase the gift’s meaning because the chance that the gift will be spent on drugs or alcohol (which is a very real chance, despite what you say above) is diminished when resources are donated in this manner.

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