Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear City of Tampa,

Dear City of Tampa,

We have a beautiful city situated on two gorgeous bays. The views from our streets are breathtaking with the mix of Spanish moss and water. Driving on Bayshore Boulevard can't help but make you smile and thank the good Lord that you live in such a beautiful city. However, there is an epidemic in our dear city. On every major street corner, panhandlers are there with signs begging for money. They weave through the traffic. Many of these beggers appear to be in good enough health to hold a steady job. They could work at a fast food restaurant or find a job with a landscaping company. Nonetheless, our city allows them to beg on busy street corners, so why should they work? In fact, someone has even been kind enough to give all of the city panhandlers NEON VESTS to wear! What in the world?!
I am not trying to be insensitive to the economic plight of others. Believe me, we are all cutting back. I WANT these people to have food and shelter. However, what I do not want is to have to face them when I am a female alone in my car or when I am carrying my precious children with me. I feel threatened. They walk in between rows of cars. One time we offered a meal to one of them and another time we offered a bag of clothes. Both offers were refused. If you are refusing food, then you are not truly hungry. If you are hungry, our city has shelters and organizations and more importantly, churches, that will help. I am scared that I am either going to be hurt by one of these people who is angered when I don't help or I am going to accidentally hit one of them as they walk through busy traffic.
Please, City of Tampa, do something to stop this mess! It is dangerous for the panhandlers and for me!

With Much Appreciation,

Mama Henley


theaikenite said...

I had a similiar experience in a larger neighboring city recently. It was difficult to explain to my children why I did not "help" the individual. I do find it frightening. I also contribute to local shelters, food pantries, etc.

The B Family said...

I've been wondering where they get those vests!

Love Being a Nonny said...

They have to get a permit here and wear a vest but often times I think it is an *operation* of people who are laughing all the way to the bank. If they are truly in need, we too have homeless shelters and FREE food shelters seven days a week. Stop the begging. Please.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I didn't realize you were from Tampa. I grew up in Ft Laudy.

But on the topic at hand... We have a similar problem here. Less panhandling but just the overwhelming presence of homeless. The crux of the problem up here is that those shelters and churches you mentioned have rules. Most are not open during the day hours either. So they have nothing to do but roam the streets. When the weather isn't terrible outside- which is frequently in FL- they often prefer to avoid the rules of shelters. Because they cannot drink and have to be quiet at a certain point in time and stuff like that. There is a church next door to me who feeds people lunch every day. Honorable. Except to those of us who live here. Because the church peeps only come and go during those hours. And as much as we try to talk to them, they refuse to do anything about the problem they have helped to create. The homeless folks now hover around the church, loiter in the little park and sleep on their steps. All that I can get over but it is when they use my ally as a bathroom. They are so bold that me yelling at them to stop going potty- in the middle of them actually going potty- and both men AND women mind you- does nothing. So when I walk to my ally to get in my car, the smell is overwhelming!

Love Being a Nonny said...

Oh, and we got the Halloween PJ's at the Carter's Outlet.

A Big Little Life said...

I see them all the time too! In fact, just the other day I said "Wonder where they got the vests!?" I was then informed that the City of Tampa pays for them. Couldn't the money spent on vests go to some kind of job placement program?

I, too worry about them getting hit by a car. So dangerous to be on highway exit corners!

Anonymous said...

Would you hire someone like that to work in a fast food restaurant? Someone without a job record, possibly a criminal record, perhaps a drinking problem? I have to admit that I probably wouldn't, so I think it's very easy to say, "Just go get a job at McDonald's" but it's not so easy to do...I agree that it's scary to see "those people" out there on the streets, but as another poster said, as a general rule, shelters are closed during the daytime hours and there are very specific rules about alcohol use, lights-out, etc. It's a real problem, for sure, one that most cities are overwhelmed with. Not sure what the answers are.