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Request for comments: panhandling in Toronto

Admiral Beez

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What I’d like to see is an in-depth investigation into if rackets are running Toronto’s roadside begging. It certainly gives the impression of being organized, with almost shift-like rotation.
 

MTown

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The roadsiders only ever get smokes from me. Never enough time to chat, obviously so I can't suss them out properly.

The guy I gave the money to outside the casino is part of a roadside crew that I can see from my place. Lakeshore and Jameson. Guy's a drunk. I told him he looks like he drinks too much and he confirmed it so I told him to buy healthier drugs than alcohol with the money I gave him.
Man, but he's still dealing with his crackhead girlfriend so I've given up on him. Probably spent my money on booze.
OK, technically, it was the money of the other punters at the casino as I had just robbed the blackjack tables blind, so I'm not too miffed about it.

Some interesting characters but this guy I'm done with. I'll tell him as much when I run into him again.

My favourite ever was a FN dude who made soap carvings. That guy was cool and had dope stories. That was years ago though. Haven't seen him lately.
 

MTown

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@MTown Thank you for willing to help me out. I will be reaching out to you shortly over private message to discuss further.
No problem. This is of some interest to me. One of my close friends ended up homeless in a drug-addled state a couple of years ago and another used to be a barely-housed crackhead who used to beg (haha....she works for a big HR firm now....everything can be fixed). I could maybe connect you with them.

Anyway, I don't think a lot of people realise that the homeless are people too and it's not exactly a good time.
 

MTown

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Can I say how genuinely impressed I am that you give your time, empathy and money in that way, particularly so for doing it as often as you have.

I consider myself a charitable soul; I do give sometimes to panhandlers, but admit a certain fatigue in seeing so many.

I've only stopped to really listen to a story once or twice. I remember seeing a woman outside the Loblaws at Leslie/Lakeshore about this time last year.

It was a cold night and heading well below zero and she was not dressed for it.

I stopped to ask after her.......I won't share the whole story except to say she had been locked out of a place she had been sharing and she had actually phoned the City and been told all the shelters were full.

I was apoplectic on her behalf.

Couldn't fix the situation for her on the spot, but gave her enough money to stay on transit all night if need be and stop for a coffee or three.

Taking the time can be both rewarding and enlightening, and more than a tad disheartening. Good on you investing in folks that way.
You said it, enlightening. I'm really also investing in myself. Being kind to those in need helps make one a better person.

It's nothing special. It really is interesting and just something more people should do.

Tell me about fatigue....when you stop and talk to them as much as I do (and I only really talk to maybe 40% of beggars I come across) you get kinda overwhelmed sometimes. Shit becomes too real and just too much to deal with. Also, my friends usually leave me behind hahaha, bastards.

I think I maybe do it for myself as much as for the beggars.
It helps to not be judgmental of people who have messed up or are psychologically ill. Also, who cares what they use the money for. Food, shelter, transit, drugs, Listerine. Don't give a toss. If they want to get high, go for it. Their life is shitty enough, whatever makes them feel better should be encouraged. That casino dude doesn't get a free ride here for reasons pertaining to our conversation that I won't bring up here.

Good on ya for helping that lady out.
 

MTown

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Also, what'd you guys do to the furniture up in this piece? It's reminiscent of FB....:(
 

Jasmine18

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I dont mind the single person who does it but I dislike the groups of them that hit up a certain area.
 

Bayer

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I don’t like the term panhandling. They’re beggars, just the same as the beggars we see in poverty stricken nations abroad. Our local beggars shouldn’t get a different term.

The solutions to begging are close at hand. In Sweden begging is predicted to essentially vanish as they moved to a cashless economy. That doesn’t eliminate the need or the means to help those who were begging, as those in need seek help from charities and government services that are funded by the same folks who previously gave to beggars.

An immediate small fix is enforcement of the Safe Streets Act and HTA, preventing beggars from entering the road space to beg at car windows.

And just to clarify, I’m not some heartless Scrurge-like character who wants to open work houses, et al. But the Canadian and Ontario homeless industrial complex needs to be shaken up, since we’re paying millions in taxes and donations to fix an issue, with little result. Around my home in downtown east there must the hundreds if not thousands of people who make their living on the perpetuation of homelessness, mental illness and addiction, but have no accountability or measurable goals connected to reducing homelessness (and begging) in order to get their continued funding.

The US has similar issues...

The Homeless Industrial Complex Problem
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-fuller/the-homeless-industrial-c_b_9092426.html

Is There a Homeless Industrial Complex That Perpetuates Homelessness?
http://www.povertyinsights.org/2013/08/05/is-there-a-homeless-industrial-complex-that-perpetuates-homelessness/[/QUOTE

This is nothing if not predictable. As a first step, how about selecting Canadian information sources?
 

Admiral Beez

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As a first step, how about selecting Canadian information sources?
I'm supporting my claim that the US has similar issues. It makes sense to cite US information sources in support of that claim.

As for Canadian sources, we need only open our eyes. For those of us who live in downtown east we don't need media articles to show us that there is a massive industrial complex around the perpetuation of the homeless and mental health issue.
 
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