Please excuse me but I am growing tired of people sitting or standing in the median, near traffic lights. They usually carry a sign that says “God Bless You,” and then ask for money. Are they legitimate?
Maybe, I am less tolerant and understanding than I was a decade ago. For about ten years, I lived in what people used to call the “Orient” or “Far East.” There were beggars and then there were beggars. In the Philippines, it is not uncommon to see women, covered in dirt, holding babies with a toddler or older child at their side. Some crowd around foreigners on the sidewalk and hold their hands out. There have been reports of some beggars distracting you while a comrade lifts your wallet or purse. Sad, but true. In fact, I had a friend who was robbed by someone posing as a homeless person.
These experiences have led me to be suspicious of anyone asking for money. While, we have the poor among us, we also have con artists. While I am not too bad sizing people up, I am far from accurate everytime. Jesus told us to take care of the poor. But, is the person on our street corner legitimate or a scam artist?
How about the government taking on that role? What if Congress provided stimulus checks to the homeless for a couple of months so that those who were able to seek work could find a room or other housing and leave the streets behind?
Stimulus checks for the poor. Would Democrats or Republicans disagree? Wait, it is an election year and I don’t think the two parties talk to each other anymore. Perhaps, some future president ot other politician will make a real attempt to address the homeless problem we have in this country. Until then, I guess I will just have to decide whether to help, on a case-by-case business.