ProJo: My Turn: Eileen Hayes: Pride, dignity and help for panhandlers

How many times have you passed a street corner and witnessed a variation of this line: “I'm homeless and hungry; can you help?” As a result of pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union in 2016, cities across Rhode Island stopped arresting panhandlers, resulting in a proliferation of men and women throughout all parts of our state asking for financial help from passersby.

Panhandling evokes strong reactions in all of us. We may feel a combination of anger, guilt, shame, judgment and helplessness. We hear these themes: “How many people can I give a dollar to?” “Will this person buy alcohol or drugs?” “Why don't they just get a job?”

To find a more positive solution to this social problem, Amos House launched “A Hand Up” in the fall of 2016. Our goal was to provide an alternative to panhandling that would offer a daily wage to men and women short on cash. Rather than cast judgment, we put people to work — literally picking up garbage and beautifying our neighborhoods.

To view the complete article, visit Providence Journal

Courtesy of Providence Journal

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