Community members pursue solutions on panhandling

2011-06-25T11:00:00Z 2011-09-13T13:56:07Z Community members pursue solutions on panhandling Coos Bay World
June 25, 2011 11:00 am

Joseph Neill, owner of the Electric Hospital, has been coping with panhandlers for years.

Neill sees a lot of them, because his business is close to a popular corner near Coos Bay's Fred Meyer store. Neill said a panhandler can make more than $100 in an hour at "Freddie's Corner."

Panhandlers can be a problem for nearby merchants, because they leave trash and make customers uncomfortable. Neill knows some of them are professional beggars. One morning last week, a man held a sign saying: "Why lie? Need beer."

But Neill also knows some panhandlers have genuine troubles. Like many local people, he would like to help them.

Panhandling is a communitywide problem, and it needs to be addressed on a large scale, Neill said. He likes the idea of an ordinance similar to one enacted in Roseburg. It prohibits passing money from a vehicle window.

Another idea he's promoting is a brochure listing services, with vouchers for some of them. A map of the organizations' locations would be on the back.

Community members could give the brochures instead of money, Neill said. Most of the vouchers are for services that are free already. The community would have to raise money for others, such as a meal at the Crossroads Community Cafe in North Bend.

The vouchers also are a way to track what's working and who's doing it, Neill said.

He acknowledges one key component is still missing - transportation. The services are too scattered for people to walk to them.

Another community member working on the homeless issue is Susan Fox.

Fox helped open Crossroads Cafe, where anyone can purchase a hot, nutritious meal for $1.50. People can buy meal coupons to give to panhandlers.

The community should take a fresh look at how it deals with homeless people, Fox said. She suggests setting small goals and dividing them among various organizations.

"It's the culture of how we treat people," she said. "I think we all have to listen more to each other, and then we have to stop being afraid."

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. hablarclaro
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    hablarclaro - July 03, 2011 7:06 am
    "Should you (I) give?"

    To a panhandler? Not a chance, but that is not to say that I am opposed to giving to food banks, soup kitchens and the like, and I do along with other recognized charities.

    Who among the panhandlers is a scammer, a drunk or tweeker who is in fact not putting your handout to good use?

    There are sources for these folks to seek assistance, and it to those sources that I donate goods and cash.
  2. onetimeonly
    Report Abuse
    onetimeonly - June 28, 2011 5:33 pm
    truthtellerschitlan said: " I'm 33, been here in the Bay my WHOLE life and never remember growing up seeing people requesting on the corner by Freddies or Walmart. "

    That's the problem, you've been here your whole life. People have been begging in the streets since currency came into common use in Rome, before that if you consider food alms as begging. Get some perspective.

  3. pril
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    pril - June 28, 2011 9:33 am
    Truthtellerschildren, I moved to the Bay Area in 1996 (at age 26) and moved away in 2005. There were, during all that time, people standing on corners asking for money, food, work, beer, or whatever.
  4. truthtellerschitlan
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    truthtellerschitlan - June 27, 2011 3:39 pm
    Common sense in human beings would be nice. I'm saying personally it is an eye sore. I'm 33, been here in the Bay my WHOLE life and never remember growing up seeing people requesting on the corner by Freddies or Walmart. Its been the last few-5 yrs. Its because they know they can make bucks! Quit giving hard earned cash, and if you are worried they need to eat buy them a burger!
  5. truthtellerschitlan
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    truthtellerschitlan - June 27, 2011 3:37 pm
    Eye opener "citizen" the panhandlers were standing on the streets yrs back b4 Obama was president, in fact I think I noticed them grow during Bushes presidency. Get a clue, one president isn't responsible for freaking everything that goes on every where. Maybe if YOU and I politically correct individuals were so legit, we'd see the real problem is focusing on other countries faults instead of our own within. PERIOD! Whether you are black, white, green, gay, straight, trans, liberal, rep./dem..
  6. BusinessMan
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    BusinessMan - June 27, 2011 8:19 am
    tsunami said: "aclu doesnt use tax payers money. what ignoramouses "

    Who pays to defend when the ACLU sues a municipality? That's why many cities don't crack down because they know they will be sued and have to defend themselves with money they don't have. A tiny bit of critical thinking (and spell checking) before you post would be really helpful.
  7. Amazed
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    Amazed - June 26, 2011 9:53 pm
    There have been many stories on panhandlers. Including Dateline, where hidden cameras followed some to nice cars and houses after their day at "work". The right space can get you hundreds a day - tax free. Panhandlers are more aware of services available than we are. They know the system and they don't like the rules. If people are willing to just give them money for sitting on a corner, there is no motivation to do anything else. Even the mentally ill learn what works. Supply & demand.
  8. Citizen
    Report Abuse
    Citizen - June 26, 2011 8:01 pm
    Shouldn't they have a business license? The other day I saw a guy at an intersection that wasn't ADA accessible. I see them working next to the state highway without a class 4 safety vest. I also wondered if they were registered so that If I did donate something I could write it off. I say leave them be. It gives folks visiting a glimpse into what voting for Democratic leadership can do for a community. Fix the real problem and stop hiding you mistakes.
  9. kikilongbean
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    kikilongbean - June 26, 2011 6:36 pm
    I've offered them jobs, which they never accept. Never offer them money .... they will beat you to the liquor or beer store.
  10. tsunami
    Report Abuse
    tsunami - June 26, 2011 6:04 pm
    aclu doesnt use tax payers money. what ignoramouses
  11. Mr E
    Report Abuse
    Mr E - June 26, 2011 5:14 pm
    I don't mind someone getting a couple bucks to get from point A to point B.

    As far as I am concerned, what we see in Coos Bay is, generally, a low-level organized crime ring.
  12. dan milburn
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    dan milburn - June 26, 2011 12:23 pm
    Make it legal and tax it!
  13. BusinessMan
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    BusinessMan - June 26, 2011 9:15 am
    The problem is that the ACLU and other bleeding heart organizations and individuals believe begging is a first amendment right of free speech. And they have their lawyers to waste taxpayer time and money with frivolous lawsuits if and when city's and towns say enough and crack down. There needs to be a nationwide coalition by municipalities to simultaneously ban this scourge on our streets. Even the ACLU has limited resources and they should have their back broken once and for all on this one
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