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Beggary in Civic

By PaulM 9 July 2010 79

I’d vote for anyone who offers to do something about public begging.

A driver behind the privatisation of our public spaces is that in the Canberra Centre, strangers aren’t going to approach you and ask for money.

Jesus – what are you doing here in Civic, if you are so short of cash that you need to beg for the bus fare home?

Shouldn’t you have just stayed there?

What’s Your opinion?


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Beggary in Civic
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Hells_Bells74 9:22 am 21 Jul 10

I have probably done nothing lately Jayman.

But I feel a better person now I’ve read that. Thank you!

That is exactly how it is, down to the letter. They frustrated me at times but at the end of the day, I had a lot of time for them when I was in their world.

I have a friend who works in the City helping them every morning and God love her, she never lets them down, because she thinks they suffer enough.

Jayman 9:08 am 21 Jul 10

The fact that we have people begging should be enough to make people ask what the hell is going on?

Go out and get unskilled work? Have you ever thought about what’s involved in trying to get a homeless person employed? “What do you mean you can’t shower regularly?”, “One set of clothes, that’s ridiculous?”, “No phone? How do I contact you?” They smell, they’re scruffy & grumpy – jeez I guess they can complain to the manager of their five star accomodation behind the dumpster location?

They get some kind of government benefit? “No mailing address? Where do I send your forms to?”, “No bank account, we only do electronic transfers” and that’s before we even look at employment opportunities. Of course if you don’t do what Centrelink says you have to you get issued with a non compliance or something else and they cut you off for 8 weeks. God forbid you get upset and start swearing, we’re not even talking about shouting yet, because that can enact a protocol where the Centrelink worker no longer has to talk to you.

Welfare services should get them accomodated somewhere? The emergency waiting list is now up to 2 years minimum, estimates are saying over 5 years if you don’t qualify as an emergency. But why should they get a somewhere free to live. Oh and if you move from state to state you don’t qualify until you’ve “lived” here for two years, gotta be on the grid though – living on the streets doesn’t count.

Welfare service are naive? In some cases they are ripped off by their clients, well will you look at that disadvantaged people take advantage of the system available to them. Is it right? No. What’s the alternative, cut them off completely? That’ll teach you for lying. Under that thought process, the next time pull a sickie you should be fired.

Criminals rights being protected, yes they are. When massive corporations can make as much billions and then shut down or fire people because they’re not making enough PROFIT then that is criminal. We’re not talking about meeting overheads, we’re talking about profit.

It doesn’t matter that people are doing drugs, alcohol is a drug before people get all high and mighty about junkies, what matters is why. How is the why being addressed?

I haven’t even started on mental health services.

I’ve gotta ask though,what have you done lately to be engaged in and improve your community?

chocolate_rain 11:34 pm 20 Jul 10

I don’t think giving them money is really the best thing for them, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a dayteach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

and I have a feeling if you give them money they will expect it everytime you bump into them in civic. There is this one guy I see all the time, sorta tan skin,goateehe, looks indian/arab must be doing drugs or has a mental issues – he really makes me feel uncomfortable because he loves to talk about weird thing, like dreams he has ect and wow I really want to know what is up with him…

geetee said :

Rarely a day goes by in Civic (or at Woden Interchange on the way home) where I’m not approached for money or cigarettes.

However, it’s the organised charity collectors in Civic each day that annoy me the most. Although I used to be a supporter of Amnesty and some other well-known charities, I just do NOT give to these professional collectors anymore.

Most of them are back-packers, often flown in from Melbourne or Sydney and accomodated in Canberra, to do this work! Imagine how much of a deduction from your charity donation this kind of overhead means..

What was the charity in the papers recently that only actually managed to pay out about 10-15% of it’s totally income to the people it was supposedly set up to assist? That’s a massive amount of administraion and other overheads for an organisation that gets huge tax incentives. I’m sure there are many man more in this category.

Try asking a collector to prove what percentage of your donation is actually guaranteed to be given to the needy. Not that they’ll know, but..

I have to agree, most people begging for money will leave you alone when you say no. the organised charity collectors are much more insistant.

geetee 10:51 am 20 Jul 10

Rarely a day goes by in Civic (or at Woden Interchange on the way home) where I’m not approached for money or cigarettes.

However, it’s the organised charity collectors in Civic each day that annoy me the most. Although I used to be a supporter of Amnesty and some other well-known charities, I just do NOT give to these professional collectors anymore.

Most of them are back-packers, often flown in from Melbourne or Sydney and accomodated in Canberra, to do this work! Imagine how much of a deduction from your charity donation this kind of overhead means..

What was the charity in the papers recently that only actually managed to pay out about 10-15% of it’s totally income to the people it was supposedly set up to assist? That’s a massive amount of administraion and other overheads for an organisation that gets huge tax incentives. I’m sure there are many man more in this category.

Try asking a collector to prove what percentage of your donation is actually guaranteed to be given to the needy. Not that they’ll know, but..

I-filed 5:56 pm 15 Jul 10

Deadmandrinking said :

damien haas said :

Last week I copped the ‘need money for bus fare’ line, i told him it was his lucky day as i had a 10 trip ticket, with one trip left (true) and pulled it out of my pocket, he looked at it, then me, and said, ‘oh, i live in queanbeyan and their bus only takes cash’. Sadly for him, i dont give cash to beggars.

It’s actually pretty expensive to get back to Queanbeyan on a bus, which is stupid, since it’s just as far from the city as tuggeranong.

With me, it’s a regularity thing. I do give money, but if I’m asked by the same person every day – well, I honestly can’t afford to do that for just one person. However, I would rather somebody get given small change than them having to resort to burglary.

Deadmandrinking, what’s your email address? I know of a fabulous $$$ opportunity out of Nigeria you’ll definitely be interested in taking up …

Spinney Woods 3:14 pm 15 Jul 10

Oh yes…someone please do move them on. They’re so unsightly and they smell. Can’t they go beg in someone else’s town??? :o/ sigh…

There but for the grace of god….

Deadmandrinking 9:31 am 15 Jul 10

damien haas said :

Last week I copped the ‘need money for bus fare’ line, i told him it was his lucky day as i had a 10 trip ticket, with one trip left (true) and pulled it out of my pocket, he looked at it, then me, and said, ‘oh, i live in queanbeyan and their bus only takes cash’. Sadly for him, i dont give cash to beggars.

It’s actually pretty expensive to get back to Queanbeyan on a bus, which is stupid, since it’s just as far from the city as tuggeranong.

With me, it’s a regularity thing. I do give money, but if I’m asked by the same person every day – well, I honestly can’t afford to do that for just one person. However, I would rather somebody get given small change than them having to resort to burglary.

damien haas 8:44 am 15 Jul 10

Last week I copped the ‘need money for bus fare’ line, i told him it was his lucky day as i had a 10 trip ticket, with one trip left (true) and pulled it out of my pocket, he looked at it, then me, and said, ‘oh, i live in queanbeyan and their bus only takes cash’. Sadly for him, i dont give cash to beggars.

chrisi 10:31 pm 14 Jul 10

beggars, charities, telemarketers…. if you ASK for money you arent getting any.

but every single time I see a salvos man sitting there quietly with his box, I always donate.
same thing with other personal causes.

but if you ask (and especially some of those charities that actually harrass!), you arent getting ONE CENT.

claireinqbn 8:17 pm 13 Jul 10

You think you have a problem in Canberra with charity “solicitors”? In London they’re known as chuggers (charity muggers) and they’re so thick on the ground, especially in the “naicer” areas like Kensington, you can barely move without being accosted. They’re all such clearskinned, bright-eyed youngsters, so charming, happy and friendly you just want to punch the bastards right in their perfect, gleaming white teeth. Not very charitable, I admit, but they get you that way in the end.

As for beggars in Civic, I buy the Big Issue from the bloke at the pedestrian crossing near Target and ignore the others. (But I do donate regularly to WWF and the McGrath Foundation.)

Katietonia 1:03 pm 13 Jul 10

sitnoir said :

I’ve had the same guy approach me with the same story (a combination of his car needing petrol and something about a bus…) around 3 times now, within the last month. And on one of those occasions I was in the process of using an ATM, so he proceeded to invade my personal space and tried to peer over my shoulder to see what I was doing, then asking if I could get some cash out for him. Asking for change is one thing, but requesting $20 like you have some right to it, is a bit much.

I’m not going to lie though, I’ve found it amusing that he’s come up to me 3 times with the same story and expected I’d believe it. Obviously he’s not good with faces…

I’ve had the same guy ask me for money for petrol a few times too, I always say “OK where’s your car parked, I have a jerry can in the back of mine, you can use some of that, let’s go??” and he mumbles and backs off.

preacher 12:17 pm 13 Jul 10

Months ago, as I was going into Woolworths in Woden, I was asked for money by a beggar outside Woden plaza. I said no, and he said, ok, have a nice day.
Best sales/guilt pitch ever.
I bought extra stuff food, went back and showed him the bag, and told him to help himself. He ended up just taking a bottle of water, but was appreciative.

Some beggars are still nice people.

Holden Caulfield 10:45 am 13 Jul 10

zillah said :

I wonder how many of those who whinge about giving their ‘hard earned’ money to beggars actually donate to charities on a regular basis? Or use their money and their votes compassionately with the less fortunate in mind? Or, you know, actually bother to find out more about the plight of the homeless, the addicted, the unstable, the cold, the hungry and the desperate?

Privilege is a fine thing isn’t it? It’s very easy to be all moral and upright-citizen and full ‘o knowledge when you are pretty sure that will never be you crouching on the pavement. I’m just saying.

I think it’s a fair point. While I do regularly donate to a few charities it’s actually a pretty easy/lazy option. I’m certainly guilty of taking the easy route, too.

I reckon your idea of trying to better understand the issues at hand or donating time to a charity/volunteer service can be of more merit than handing over credit card details.

But it’s (potentially) a tough ask and will often lead people away from their comfort zone.

zillah 10:43 am 13 Jul 10

Oh my, yes I too am presented with ‘grimy aggressive sickly looking people’ every single day of my privileged wealthy life, and I too donate heavily to charities – so yes, good for you actually putting something into dealing with the problem, as best you can.

However one thing I certainly don’t do is complain about being exposed on a daily basis to people – human beings – who suffer the indignity and humiliation of life on the street. ‘Compassion fatigue’ or whatever the euphemism is these days is one thing but complaining that your life is made slightly less perfect by the mere presence of the unfortunate is just churlish.

If you don’t want to give money say no and keep walking. Doing that several times per day is not going to kill you. Sure it’s not much fun, but maybe remind yourself that you’re the one with all the power in the situation and take comfort in your warm bed and your hot shower and your freedom from addiction. If you don’t want people on the streets, consider contributing actively to social services. If you feel threatened, get yourself out of the situation, call the police, whatever.

But come on, ‘grimy aggressive sickly looking’ is pretty harsh. I might venture to suggest you would look and behave much the same after a few nights on the streets.

sepi 10:09 am 13 Jul 10

Actually I used to be very sympthetic, and I still donate to several charities.

But once I started working in civic, I was approached by the same crowd of beggars every single day.
I don’t want to spend my lunch hour doling out 2.00 coins to grimy aggressive sickly looking people.

If you walk through civic once in a blue moon then you probably haven’t developed the same compassion fatigue as the people who are there daily.

zillah 10:50 pm 12 Jul 10

I wonder how many of those who whinge about giving their ‘hard earned’ money to beggars actually donate to charities on a regular basis? Or use their money and their votes compassionately with the less fortunate in mind? Or, you know, actually bother to find out more about the plight of the homeless, the addicted, the unstable, the cold, the hungry and the desperate?

Privilege is a fine thing isn’t it? It’s very easy to be all moral and upright-citizen and full ‘o knowledge when you are pretty sure that will never be you crouching on the pavement. I’m just saying.

erv 10:41 pm 11 Jul 10

Most charities are naive. They need to do more research on the people they help out. I used to give money to the salvos all the time but once I found out they were giving boxes of food every morning to the lady across from me I stopped. She claims to be a single mum but never has her kids with her and every night there is a different bloke there. Not to mention all the times she has been raided by cops for drug dealing. She probably earns more money than anyone else in the street but she still gets free food every single day from them. I know people out there benefit from the work of charities but seeing what goes on across the street and how much she works the system has put me off donating to them.

CanberraCreative 1:49 pm 11 Jul 10

cranky said :

I-filed,

Being totally cynical, I could not credit more than 5c in the $2 to actually do any good in a deserving country. Having seen the avarice of local government in these countries, I’m amazed anyone deserving receives a cent.

That’s why the money and aid is distributed by NGOs… Non-governmental organisations.
Once had a talk from Doctors without Borders who essentially said what you said, can’t trust the governments to do it, so they have parallel networks for making things happen.

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