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Old 06-04-2017, 03:22 PM
 
Location: 49th parallel
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Do you find these guys mostly at parking lots and things like that? (I know you said one came to your door CC, but I wondered if that's unusual). I was thinking about the residential-ish streets near downtown like Mill and so on. Would they be likely to be wandering around in those areas?
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:37 AM
 
Location: The Bluegrass State
362 posts, read 707,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndcairngorm View Post
Do you find these guys mostly at parking lots and things like that? (I know you said one came to your door CC, but I wondered if that's unusual). I was thinking about the residential-ish streets near downtown like Mill and so on. Would they be likely to be wandering around in those areas?
Mostly parking lots and street corners/intersections. They go where other people are.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndcairngorm View Post
Do you find these guys mostly at parking lots and things like that? (I know you said one came to your door CC, but I wondered if that's unusual). I was thinking about the residential-ish streets near downtown like Mill and so on. Would they be likely to be wandering around in those areas?

They find me; I don't go searching! A friend said I must have a face that makes me look like a likely target. If so, it's misleading.

I live a couple of miles from downtown Lexington - not sure what's going on in Old Lexington (Mill, etc.) but friends who live there have had to lock up tight and keep close watch on things for years. I would assume that has not changed, or may have become even more necessary with the current increase in panhandling.

I was panhandled in the parking lot next to a Main Street restaurant recently - a young black man on a bicycle asked me for 97 cents. Really. He got a referral to the Salvation Army, a few blocks down the street, instead.

Most panhandlers "work" in parking lots of restaurants or shopping centers, or at major intersections leading into Lexington from the Interstates (I-64 and I-75) or at New Circle Road exits (New Circle circles the city, as its name implies) or near the University of Kentucky, especially at the intersections of Maxwell Avenue and Limestone and Maxwell and South Broadway, where groups of panhandlers congregate.

The Richmond Road and New Circle overpass shelters another group of panhandlers who appear to "work" together and hang out under the bridge when they're "off duty". They keep bottled water and other supplies beneath the overpass. Other intersections along Richmond Road frequently host panhandlers, as do the outer intersections of Nicholasville Road, especially those closest to New Circle Road.

Faking disability, injury, and "stolen valor" are common - wheelchairs, army fatiques, and leg braces are frequently seen "accessories". There's a well-known guy who limps - but he tends to forget which leg is "lame", as his gait changes frequently.

Others have been banned from local hospitals, after pretending to be stranded out of town relatives of patients and hitting up genuine family members and other visitors for "gas money". Pretending to be out of gas and stranded is a frequent meme.

The Hamburg shopping center has also had problems with panhandlers - perhaps the most egregious were three grimy women sporting a sign: "Dirty as Hell; Need a Motel!". The trio seemed to have emerged from a battered but colorful large hippie van/ bus with Washington (state) plates and a "FREE FOOD!" sign on its side. Maybe they were heading to a Rainbow Gathering. Their van could have taken them to the Salvation Army or the Catholic Action Center, where hot showers would have been available.

Lexington's panhandling problem has grown much, much worse since Kentucky's Supreme Court declared a previous anti-begging ordinance unconstitutional a few months ago. Now, panhandlers are coming into Lexington from outside the area, drawn by what they perceive as easy pickings.

There is a Facebook page about the problem, "Panhandlers of Lexington", which has photos of many of these individuals on the "job", along with brief descriptions of encounters. Some readers have identified people they recognize who live in surrounding towns and whom they know to have histories of drug or alcohol addiction and grifting - and often, houses or apartments. A group of panhandlers seemed to be driving into Lexington daily from Stanton, about 45 minutes away. Those who recognized them provided names and said none of them were homeless but all had histories of drug abuse and petty crime.

Actually, the majority of the Lexington panhandlers are not homeless, do not want food, do not want job offers - they want money. That money often goes for drugs - three ambulances in a row pulled up near the corner of Maxwell not long ago, after panhandling friends got a bad batch of something or another and passed out, according to the Facebook page.

So - if you feel guilty about bypassing these beggars, don't. Save your sympathy and your generosity for those in genuine need, and donate to the Salvation Army, Hope Center, or Catholic Action Center or similar organizations to help those whose need is real. Lexington has over 500 beds each night for those who have none of their own. Free meals and free food for home use are also available. Drug rehab is available. Job training and placement is available (I saw FIVE "help wanted" signs along a short stretch of New Circle and Palumbo this weekend - within walking distance of the notorious panhandlers at the Richmond Road intersection).

Lexington has passed a local ordinance requiring beggars to stay off medians and forbidding them to approach cars, etc. But it's going to be a couple of months before it takes effect (don't ask me why). Lexington also has a new Panhandling Van, which makes the rounds two days a week and takes any panhandler who wants to participate to job sites, at which they're paid nine dollars an hour to pick up trash, trim shrubs, etc. This is quite successful so far and needs to be expanded to five days a week and needs to make more than one run per day.

The success of this project indicates that some few of panhandlers may be in real need and willing to work. My comments do not apply to these people, who deserve a hand - but not a handout. Instead, they need to be directed to the organizations and agencies who can help them back onto their feet, and the van project is a good start.

Otherwise, the public needs to be educated and alternative ways of dealing with in-your-face panhandling need to be encouraged. At least 50% of the panhandlers appear to be healthy young men under 30. I'd like to know what their families have to say about them...
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Meredith NH
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The Ft Myers News Press (Fla) ran a story about a women with a grubby looking child that was panhandling outside of a Publix.A woman who had just given her money noticed that she was picked up by a man in a Mercedes SUV and left laughing as they counted the loot.She followed them for a bit and recorded them on her cell phone.They becamse very angry when they noticed her .
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Near L.A.
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You should spend time here in California with our panhandlers. It's in crisis mode, even in affluent areas like south Orange County or Silicon Valley, or even in agrarian communities like Visalia or Lodi. The crisis has become a serious political issue at the state level and at municipal levels (particularly L.A. and San Francisco) because of the ramifications that the lack of affordable housing is having on driving some people out to the streets, Propositions 47 and 57 which have reduced some felonies to misdemeanors and reduced prison sentence times, and the complicated web of quality of life issues interwoven in all of this. L.A. City voters voted last year to raise sales taxes to expedite the construction of affordable housing, including housing for the very low- or no-income.

In Greater L.A. (L.A., Antelope Valley, Ventura, Orange County, Inland Empire), there are an estimated 70,000 homeless people. In the San Francisco Bay Area (SF, Oakland, San Jose, Silicon Valley, Napa), there are an estimated 15,000-20,000.

Other West Coast cities such as San Diego, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle are increasingly having their problems with the homeless population as well.

I'm glad to learn that Lexington is already trying creative strategies to address this issue that are intended to improve the quality of life for taxpaying citizens, put homeless people back to work and back in shelter, and cost the city a relative minimum to implement.
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:02 PM
 
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Just to clarify - most of the Lexington panhandlers are not homeless. Addiction and alcoholism plus mental illness are their issues, in most cases (along with sheer laziness and lack of personal pride).

Lexington has numerous resources for the homeless, including over 500 beds each night, medical care, free meals, counseling, free clothing and toiletries, and so on.

I was asked if it was unusual for a panhandler to come to my door - yes, that was very out of the norm and made me quite uneasy, which is why I notified the police. Since then, others acquaintances have reported similar incidents. I live in an older, desirable and reputedly safe neighborhood, where neighbors watch out for each other. This was a very bizarre encounter, no doubt drug- or mental-illness fueled, as the guy at my door seemed very off and odd in his manner and could not present a coherent narrative about why he was there. Fortunately, nothing like this has happened at my house since.
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:11 PM
 
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The first picture currently shown on the Panhandlers of Lexington Facebook page shows a youngish man panhandling at the corner of New Circle Road and Richmond Road. He or his buddies are always there, and keep their gear beneath the viaduct that carries New Circle over Richmond Road. They panhandle on the exit ramps from New Circle onto Richmond Road, and coordinate their schedules - I saw a shift change the other day when I was stopped for the light on Richmond Road.

Also near that intersection is Palumbo Drive, which is lined with large industrial warehouses. I drove along it a little over a week ago, and decided to count the "help wanted" signs. I spotted seven - all for warehouse or truck driving jobs. Some listed pay well above minimum wage. It's less than a mile from this intersection - easy walking distance.

So when I next stopped at the Richmond Road light, and saw the guy depicted plus his shift-changing buddy - I rolled down my window, and called to them "Hey, guys! Go over on Palumbo - they've got work over there! Lots of jobs over there right now, all up and down the street!" I was polite, not rude, and enthusiastic - even smiled at them.

I got cursed at in return.

Please, please, people, do NOT give these grifters money. Do not give them food - they toss it in the ditch and add to the litter problem. Do not give them clothing. If you must give them something, get one of several cards or other hand-outs listing services available and addresses - the Hope Center, the Catholic Action Center, the Salvation Army, and so on...just don't encourage their habit.
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Roanoke Va
65 posts, read 47,499 times
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It is illegal here in Va to panhandle on a traffic medium although many continue this dangerous activity. I often see a man on a
Sit down walker parked on the medium. I dont think this is a crime police are that concerned about unless someone is shot, etc
Roanoke Va is very welcoming to the homeless, there are shelters, free medical clinics, volunteers who provide free clothes,
hair cuts. I am surprised the huge numbers of veterans in this population. Many of these folks are opiod addicted but they are great people!!
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:21 AM
 
9,679 posts, read 3,418,947 times
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As far as Lexington panhandlers go, I haven't had any trouble at restaurants, albeit I rarely eat downtown because of parking. The place I've been approached the most is the parking lot of Barnes and Noble's in Hamburg. I've been approached a couple of times in the parking lot and once actually in the store. There was a woman who rolled down her window, claimed she was a schoolteacher from a nearby county and needed money for gas to get home. She had a six year old or so kid and an old lady in her car as props! I gave her a few bucks and she tore out of the lot like she had robbed a bank.

I guess in some ways, she did.

Last edited by Bureaucat; 07-10-2017 at 12:01 PM..
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