Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More from the $5 homeless man

Last week I wrote about a homeless man who asked me for..not change, not $1, but $5, and then got mad that it's impossible for him to make a living out there.

I saw him today, and again, asking for $5. He said, "Anyone got $5 to spare, I need to get some food."

Get some food? With $5?? Come on now! Cost of living around Civic Center Station is not that high. It is lined with 99 cent food options, ultra cheap donut and coffee shops. Even Starbucks has breakfast pastries for $1.35. Not even my lunch costs $5 since I prefer to have a large bowl of soup w/ bread these days instead of full entrees.

I'm sure he has plenty of reasons for asking for $5 instead whatever he can get (hopefully not alcohol and drugs)....but this is just a bit much. This brings me back to the shocking revelation I experienced 2 years ago from volunteering at SF Homeless Connect Day. There I was, trying to do my part to help the homeless, but guess where 99.9% of them immediately headed to as I tried to introduce them to the wide scope of services available from jobs, job training, detox, health services, and a bunch of freebies including games, portable radio, magazines, watches, food and clothes. Where did they want to go? Not jobs, not training, not detox or health but straight to the freebies. Sure, food and clothing are critical items but those are packaged up for them to all take with's not going anywhere. They won't even spend a few seconds to learn more about how to get themselves out of that mess. So much for ending homelessness.

**Apparently I need to clarify here since a reader accused me of being unreasonable. The food and clothing packages are made available to all homeless people at the end of their visits. They're not even remotely interested in spending 2 secs to pick up a flyer on training or detox and immediately demands to go directly to the exit...where the freebies are. Look, I'm not unsympathetic, in fact, I'm anything but. I've volunteered, I've donated, I've helped those with kids and pets especially...but cut me a bit of slack when I'm only sharing a slice of reality here from MY personal experience working at homeless events.***


Anonymous said...

wow. just. wow.

what planet are you from again?

the nerve of those lazy homeless people to want to get food in their stomachs instead of learning about job training. their priorities sure are backwards!

bartmusings said...

hey don't turn around and blame me on this. the food and clothing are available to ALL homeless people at the end of their visit. OK?

please...if you want to be picky, pick on something else.

i generally don't use such tone but you're really out of line here.

Anonymous said...

BElieve it or not, most homeless people have easy access to food. There are plenty of shelters in SF. What they don't spend enough time doing is helping themselves start a real life.

Anonymous said...

if the guy can get $5 every 10 minutes, that's $30/hour - tax free too. i doubt he would be interested in flipping burgers at mickey d's.

Anonymous said...

Screw him and another other who beg for my hard earned dollar because I am not giving up a cent to them. Just like the guy who approached me today departing 12th Street trying to sell me a 14k gold necklace. Sorry, go peddle your crap somewhere else. As for the begging, get out of our stations. I heard Gavin has a plan for you...

Anonymous said...

I use to live in the Bay Area, but got burned out on Earthquakes, Aggressive Pan Handlers and the lack of career ops for me. So I moved to Texas. When I saw this thread I had to respond.

A number of years ago, when I lived in Oakland, I would commute by Bart to work in downtown SF. At the Oakland 19th St Bart station I always ran into a homeless man who was atleast pleasant. I didn't give him anything, but always said I'd help him out next pay raise. Well that pay raise came and I gave him $20 that night. He was quite happy, so happy he went and told all his homeless friends. Within seconds I had a bunch of vultures around me with their hands out. Some were absolutely rude about it. One kept badgering me and followed me all the way home. It's a long story, but he ended up kicking in my door after I asked him to leave and I shot him. I didn't kill him, but he must now talk in a high voice.

Ever since then I've tried to avoid confrontations with aggressive homeless people. I see that you have "disease woman of the day" there. One day she has breast cancer, the next Alzheimers and she's probably 30.

I love to come back to visit, but don't miss much of the crap that I put up with there.