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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nashua panhandling article draws criticism of system

You see them standing on a busy street corner or the median, signs in hand.

“Homeless. Anything helps. God bless.” ...

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You see them standing on a busy street corner or the median, signs in hand.

“Homeless. Anything helps. God bless.”

Many panhandlers say they’ve fallen on hard times and are trying to support a family, not a drug or alcohol habit, including the ones with whom The Telegraph spoke last week.

They explained that they stand on the Nashua side of Taylor Falls Bridge because Hudson doesn’t like them.

The Telegraph’s interview with these panhandlers came after the Hudson selectmen proposed an ordinance to ban panhandling in town.

The story drew strong response from commenters on both sides of the issue, including one

of the panhandlers, Rob Bates.

“iv never hopped in a car and left i dont have a car … we are out there cause we need to be,” Bates wrote in response to Lawrence Artz, who said he observed two panhandlers outside the Pheasant Lane Mall get coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, use a table and cellphone, and drive a Cadillac. “I cant get a job if you have on to offer please help me then cause I would love to work.”

Bates’ comment only fueled the debate for those against panhandling.

“Rob Bates, You may want to change your facebook profile from reading Owner at Rob And Big Landscape Design it may help your cause a bit,” Eric Finn wrote.

“Rob Bates how are you on facebook? maybe sell your computer or use it to look for jobs on craigslist?” Kailah TheDogfish wrote.

Eric Finn also questioned Bates, but he put fault on the system and not the panhandlers.

“I assume that someone like Rob based off his status saying ‘Owner at Rob And Big Landscape Design’ collects unemployment durring the winter months and is having a hard time making it on just that,” Finn wrote. “And the fact that he is on Facebook responding to these critics says he can afford a phone plan or internet so things can not be that tough.

“However I think a bigger part of the problem is that when you are strugling and attempt to go to welfare for assistance the guidlines are so out of whack to qualify that unless you live under a bridge in a cardboard box collecting cans or are lying about your income you can not possibly qualify. … And these public servants … get off your high horse and take a different rout home if it hurts your eyes after all it is you and others like yourself that have completely cut the middle class out of society.”

Kyle Andrew agreed that the selectmen need to do more to help rather than just ban panhandling.

“Once again there’s somebody of privilege telling people of the lesser privilege what they CAN’T do instead of empowering them and giving them a option on what they CAN do,” Andrew wrote. “It’s an issue that’s only being brushed aside by making another law penalizing these people so the state can profit from creating (legal flow).”

Some commenters pointed out that plenty of homeless people are just that, and not addicts.

“Not everyone who is homeless has a substance abuse problem, please remember that,” Maureen McGuire MacGregor wrote. “I work (with) many homeless veterans and there are many reasons why they are in that situation. … I tend to bring power bars or fresh fruit along with me vs giving money for food.”

Join the conversation at nashuatelegraph.com or by liking The Telegraph on Facebook at facebook.com/thetelegraph.