Saturday, November 2, 2013

In San Francisco’s Union Square

In San Francisco’s Union Square, the typical panhandler is a disabled middle-aged single male who is a racial minority and makes less than $25 per day despite panhandling seven days a week for more than five years.  94 percent used the meager funds they raised for food.

In addition, some justify doing little to fight homelessness because, in their view, many homeless people don’t want help and prefer living on the streets. However, researchers discovered that, on the contrary, just 3 percent of panhandlers don’t want housing.

Among the survey’s findings:

83 percent are men
48 percent are African American
31 percent are white
69 percent are single
26 percent served in the military
70 percent are 40 to 59 years old
58 percent have been panhandling for at least five years
53 percent panhandle seven days a week
60 percent make $25 a day or less
94 percent use the money for food
44 percent use it for drugs or alcohol
62 percent are disabled
25 percent are alcoholics
32 percent are addicted to drugs
82 percent are homeless

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