The Austin City Council continues it tribulation with the issue of panhandling inside the city limits and what to do about the increasing number of complaints from Austin residents. Within the last few years more and more surrounding towns like George Town have passed city ordnances against panhandling. This has cause an influx of even more indigent and low income persons to the Austin area to seek money. These days it is hard to go a few blocks in south Austin without seeing someone out begging for money at a street corner. At times 3-4 to an intersection, battle for the favor of driver-bys loose change.
What’s the big deal some might say, they don’t hurt anyone? Ah but they do! I speck from personal experience to the fact that while for the most part the homeless and poor that prowl the cities corners a far less then harmless some are not. After I had refused to give particular man money, he proceeded to call me ever foul word in his vocabulary, and finished up by throwing what ever he was drinking on the windshield of my car. All because I wouldn’t give him a quarter? I believe that it is these few people that take begging to a somewhat violent level, that will ruin it for the rest of those that rely on their income though the charity of others.
Austin seems stalled of this issue choosing to perform a study of its panhandling population rather then taking any action. Meeting stiff resistance from civil rights activist that claim that to make panhandling illegal, would be to "criminalize the poorest and most valuable" residents in Austin.
While my heart drops every time I see a disabled vet begging for money on the side of the street, something needs to be done to bring more stability to these homeless people’s lives. While you may help them in the short term by giving them money, you are only helping to fuel their ability to not in prove their own lives.