Initiative Aims to Get Panhandlers off the Streets

Jun 10, 2012 Full story: WGBH

As the weather warms up and tourists fill the streets, panhandlers appear in droves, asking for spare change at almost every busy square and intersection.

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“All gave some,some gave all.”

Since: Jun 11

PCB

#1 Jun 11, 2012
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— As the weather warms up and tourists fill the streets, panhandlers appear in droves, asking for spare change at almost every busy square and intersection. The treatment they receive from pedestrians, storeowners and police varies widely, as does their income. Now there's a new effort in Cambridge to get panhandlers off the streets.
Please spare change
Justin Newton divides his time between two trendy and rather affluent areas of Greater Boston: Harvard Square and Newbury Street. He's 31, tall with shaggy red hair and a beard. He's also a panhandler. For up to 8 hours a day he sits or stands with a cardboard sign, usually scrawled with a funny message — for instance, one day in May, "Too Ugly to Sell My Body, Already Sold my Soul. Please Spare Change."
The shelter where Newton usually stays is closed until the fall, he said, so he and friends sleep on the street. You might see them in front of the Coop or in the Pit in Harvard Square. He said on a good day, after about 8 hours, he makes about $75. He spends his money on what he called homeless "gear."
"I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t using some of it to buy, like, pot," he said. "But well, I just bought these two foam mattress pads because my back’s been really bothering me and I needed a better surface to sleep on."
When asked if he'd tried to get a full-time job, he shrugged. "I was looking for work for 2 1/2 years before I became homeless. If I couldn’t find a job when I had a roof over my head, think of how much harder it is to get a job when you don’t have a roof over your head, when your address is a drop-in center," he said.

“All gave some,some gave all.”

Since: Jun 11

PCB

#2 Jun 11, 2012
If anyone knows Justin Newton,ask him to hold up a sign that says, "David McCullough for President."

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