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Elf Mommy

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I know this is totally off topic, but lately we have been discussing more personal issues. I guess this is mine.

I live in Jacksonville, Florida, as most of you know. In the past fewmonths, the amount of times I've been approached by a homeless personlooking for money has increased dramatically. It seems that whenever Ileave a store, or come to the end of an exit ramp at a stop light, oram walking the dog or bunny....there's a vagrant looking for "sparechange."

The other thing that's occurring more and more is that they are rippingall of my garbage bags open on trash morning to look for aluminum cansor anything salvageable. The trash people won't pick up the strewngarbage, so I come home after work to a mess to deal with.

Sigh

I really don't consider myself a heartless person. I go to church, Igive to charities (ok, most of them are animal charities, but I do whatI can), and I would really like these people not to have to live on thestreet.

BUT

It's really beginning to aggravate, frustrate, and even frighten me abit. These people (because it is men AND women) seem to have no problemcoming up to me when my two young children (4 and 7) are with me. Theyget right in my face. They wander the streets with their lives in theirshopping carts and ravage through my garbage in broad daylight. Ireally used to think that I lived in an OK neighborhood. It's anhistorical district, nice old houses, right near the river. Now I worryabout letting my son take garbage out to the curb. I worry about thekids playing on the front porch without me staring over their shouldersevery second. I dread going to certain stores which have always beenconvenient because I know I'll get accosted as soon as I get out of myvan or walk out of the store.

My husband says it's because of the cold up north and that very soonthey will all move further south and I won't have to worry about it somuch. I think it also has to do with the Superbowl being here in townthis year, and the authorities are much more worried about other thingslike street improvement, so they aren't paying much attention to thebums roaming around.

Sometimes I do give them something, so I don't have to listen to themyell at me when my kids are with me. However, I know that is justencouraging them. Most times I will offer the very true explanationthat I use my debit card for everything, and do not carry cash with me.I rarely ignore them completely, mostly because they will yell atpeople or get way too close for comfort. sigh. I guess I shouldcomplain to store owners more than I do.

At any rate, there's my rant. Again, I hate to come off as a harsh,unfeeling, uncaring human being, but I just needed to let that out.

Thanks all :)

Minda

 

mygrl2k3

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Thats a tough sitation. We had that promblem morein our old neighborhood i too would sometimes give them money if icould. One thing i could say about the garbage is does yourcompany have a reclying bin? If you could put cans in there out outsideof the trash cans maybe they wont go into the bags.

I have never been quite that poor that i would resort to that stuff buti imagine when you dont have money for food they get desperate but iknow it dont make it easier to deal with. There are programsout there for homeless programs i am sure.

Cristy
 

Elf Mommy

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I've been thinking of saying "Have you foundJesus?" when they come up to me. It will make some go away and others Icould give some directions to a food kitchen or something.

:D
 

mygrl2k3

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that sounds like a good idea. Ipersonally if i had a couple dollars to spare i wouldnt mind giving itto them but you never really know what they will use the money for.Some people are homeless cause they put drinking or drugs first beforeeating or rent. So telling them where a shelter or food kitchen ishelping without giving money away.

Cristy
 

Carolyn

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Hi ElfMommy,

If in the case of your garbage and them 'recycling', in many States ifthey are coming onto your property and rumaging through your trash,then it's considered trespassing and against the law.

If it is a public area, like being kept ona Main Street forpick up, then they're okay to do as they please.

There are ways to help these people without rewarding their bad beggingbehavior. If you feel heartless, give a donation to a localcharity that supports such assistance, and explain to your childrenthat you are helping them.As stated above, youcould direct them to shelters or just completely walk by.It'sa shame that such poverty exists, but thereareopportunities to get help if these people wantit.

-Carolyn
 

bunsforlife

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My mother works for a church... we dont have manyhomeless because a friend of mine runs a housing program for suchpeople (small town) But they do sometimes come to my mother's churchasking for money. The church wont give out cash because thatcan be used for drugs, booze, other things that arenecessary. Instead, they have a deal with local restaraunts,hotels, garages, etc. We send them to those places to get ahot meal, a night under a roof, or their vehicle fixed (youd be amazedwho comes to the church looking for money) on the Church. 9times out of 10, the offer is ignored. They just want themoney.

Its sad... but I dont give money to them anymore.. not since I saw avagrant sitting outside the offramp to our local walmart, with a signasking for money, playing a Gameboy Advance, and with a ferret on hisshoulder.
 
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