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Panhandling in Cranston ~ Are they really Homeless?

Panhandling is Legal. But, is it safe or is it an Eye Sore to a Community?

I remarked yesterday on my Facebook page about the nicely dressed smoker man who panhandles at the intersection of Chapel View 4 corners (Socconosset and Route 2).  As I sat at the light and watched several cars give this man that I see on most weekends and sometimes during the day, I was bothered. 

It started 4 months ago when 2 little 9 year old boys were darting in-out at a traffic light at Reservoir and Park with Cans.  They were with their dad who stood safely on the sidewalk.  Coming from Boston, and having this to be a familiar sight in Dorchester, Roxbury etc., I knew it was a scam.  Unlike the Fire Department that annually does this collection in a safe manner...I worried about the children and/or a driver being responsible for causing harm to this $$$ collection.  I posted back then on the Mayor's site and called the Traffic Department at Cranston alerting them to the issue.

Several weeks later I took a phone picture of the Route 37/Pontiac Ave Panhandler that the Police had stopped.  I was pleased to see this.  Some of you will say, how cold hearted.  Look, I do my part in donating food and my children are thrilled about baking some goodies and bringing them to the shelter.  It is common sense if you give $$$, most likely it will fund a habit.

Now to the Panhandlers that I first mentioned, typically a man a woman team and it is really amazing how much they can make in a short time.  What's alarming is they have been seen driving off in a nice car, smoking, drinking Duncan Donuts coffee etc.  Then I think of the true homeless folks that they are taking away from.  Some passengers have said they are aggressive, which goes against the current laws.  Did you know they are able to panhandle, but must adhere to certain guidelines.  I'm sure they are not given a sheet to alert them to "Rules of Panhandling", so how would one know really??

Do you see this as a Danger?  Do you see this as something that might lower your homes value?  Isn't it bad enough that we house the ACI in Cranston and now we have Panhandling.  What do you think the solution is?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

RXR April 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM
This topic is very interesting.. I have seen alot of pandhandlers... and most of them look like they really need the money for there habits.. not too long ago I was in a Family Dollar in Providence and was approched by this man asking if i could pay for two bags of chips for his daughter that had birthday party.. i felt bad and bought it for him.. but then again wondered he didn't look all that in great shape.. and figured it might of been for him.. i didn't get too offended since i knew i gave him food...
mike l April 04, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Duncan donuts?????????? I bet the pan handler can spell...
Golden April 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I was told by a Cranston Police officer that this is ILLEGAL? True False? NO clue, I don't give to these people as I give to those who I KNOW NEED it! Charity begins at home therefore I give to those I see that need,appreciate it! I've often thought of doing this to see how much I can collect myself,one day you just might see me out there! I can also attest to a group of men that do this in Pvd at the Rt.10 Cranston St. light. they take turns coming in n out of the wooded areas. They all have a cup in their hand drinking ??? smoking @ 8 9 10.00 a pack? no clue the cost but they certainly don't look like they need my change!
Julia Turner April 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The male and female team used to be stationed on Promenade Street. I used to see them take turns. Now they are located on Niantic Avenue. They are far from homeless!! They are making more money than we do working 8 hour days with working just 2-3 hours a day TAX FREE!! I roll my eyes in disgust everytime I see them. She stands off Rt 10 off the exit at the light and he is at Niantic and Cranston St at the light. I am sick of seeing them to be honest. I feel that I am being watched when I pull up to the lights. I do not think that it is safe for anyone. I wish Cranston PD would stop them from doing this. Take it back to Providence. I am about to stand next to them with a sign that says "I'm not really homeless but I need to pay my bills".
Suzanne Arena April 05, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Mike I .....REALLY. Sorry bud, but I have Dyslexia and occasionally my spelling isn't caught by spell check. Hopefully, you got more out of what was blogged. Here's a fun fact for you Mike. Einstein was viewed at one point as a retard (not a term I like but one the schools still use as a term), and was an atrocious speller. There are many and when I used to put together Press Releases, this was a huge challenge for me. Last fun fact Mike, many of the Homeless have had mental disabilities, tragedy or simply can find themselves without permanent housing for a number of reasons, especially here in RI where we have the 2nd worst economy in the Country as Unemployment soars, along with foreclosures. Some people are homeless for years, while others are without housing for a day or two due to something like a house fire. Every homeless person's situation is different, but they are united in what they need---social services and stability. @Richard, I do not think anyone is arguing that point. The argument is those that are banking on presenting something they are not and people need to know if they really want to help, go to a shelter and donate.
Suzanne Arena April 05, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I agree Richard, many of us are but just one fire away. I had a tragedy occur and because it was one of the construction workers working on the house that supposedly set it and it was under investigation in the freezing cold winter. The insurance company would NOT pay for anything until it was resolved and I had to stay with my ONLY relative. I was lucky and it took months....months I said, so I truly could have been in a shelter. Will Smith depicted a father with a son and lived in a homeless shelter for a period, I know some people that have been in shelters and turned things around and are very happy. Some of them are aware of the scamming too. It's one thing to pass judgment on the truth, but we are talking about the obvious scammers and that is all. There is a percentage that do have jobs and live there, I am fully aware and I admire those people and want to encourage them to keep going and achieve, but I want justice to those that are chameleons.
Suzanne Arena April 05, 2012 at 01:21 AM
@Golden & Julia. The sad truth is that most states fail to provide enough affordable shelter like Cranston. There is not a lot of housing to meet the increased needs of their homeless. Unfortunately, Cranston is responding panhandlers and arresting them. Those that are not homeless deserve to be arrested. The others that are truly homeless and were trying to make a few dollars but those other "Bad Apples" ruined it for everyone. That's how I see it. You both made me laugh with your comments because I still think of that guy back in the 80's that made over $80K a year doing this. Yeah, it would be good to try. Hmmmnnn, I wonder if I could try this for a couple of hours just to see?? Or better yet, you two work the area and get back to us...I am really interested because so many of us think it too. I found this statement to be very interesting and was posted on a lawyer's rights page: "Legal advocates for the homeless have successfully argued that any law that punishes the homeless for engaging in life-sustaining activities violates the constitution as well as the publics sense of fairness and fundamental human dignity for all it’s citizens." Legality of Panhandling in Cranston??? Let me get back to you tomorrow. I have also heard conflicting reports that it is not, but it depends on the manner in which it is asked. Stay tuned.
Elana Carello April 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
How do you know this is a scam? You offer no proof whatsoever.
Joe Richer April 06, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Panhandling may be illegal but is probably covered by the First Amendment of the Federal Constituion. As long as you are not being agressive or dangerous - we are protected in our freedom to communicate with one another...this includes "Buddy can you spare a dime?" I take this situations one at a time. Sometimes I give and others I don't. I let my conscious be my guide.
Elana Carello April 06, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Joe makes a good and reasonable statement. For me, after spending so many years living in NYC, I decided not to judge anyone but to give if I was asked or if I went by someone in need - I considered it 'street tax'. And it seems the Christian and humanitarian thing to do, for me.
Govstench April 08, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Some of these people may be idown on their luck but others I see appear to be "working the corner." You have to wonder if there is a drug connection going - "escape from reality" Providence has cracked down on these activities as it is a blight on the area. People in cars don't want to be harassed for a donation. Get into a rehab program and get back on track. Some will but for others, its either continuing this long road or prison. This recession is making a bumper crop skid row bums. It's up to them to pick themselves up and get on with their lives.
Suzanne Arena April 08, 2012 at 07:10 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU GovStench's name says it all....we need to clean up the House politics. The money NOT being captured and instead given to the ILLEGAL people versus Shelters, Schools, Family Services and programs that are going because we don't know how to run a government here. That's right, I'm not originally from here. Imagine how our Vets feel? Have you talked to one of the street and had a meaningful conversation - I have and they are disgusted. This posting was about airing caution to drivers to be safe and cautious in giving to those that are obviously NOT homeless (smoking, DD coffee and nice clothes people especially). Get a Gift Certificate and give them one to DD's or Walmart so they can buy clothes. Clearly Elana, we are all wanting to be good humantarians, I can't even imagine how I would hold my head up and hand out to collect handouts as a VET or otherwise in a State that clearly doesn't give two cents about us.
Abdulah Farouk April 10, 2012 at 03:01 PM
What about the punks on Rolfe Street hanging around and trying to bum cigatettes from passing pedestrians? Why is there a school for juvinile delinquents in the business center of Rolfe Street? Thanks Mayor O'Leary!
Charles May 26, 2013 at 11:53 PM
I would just like to say that not all that panhandle r scams some really do need and appreciate what is given to them. Now here is my issue they say aggressive panhandeling is elegal well standing on the side of the road waving and smiling is not aggressive y was I arested for aggressive panhandling? I don't ask for money just a job and appreciate when I am given a days work although the choose to arrest me and charge me with aggressive panhandleing now I will go to court and 1 get a fine that I can't afford 2 they will give me 30 days in the aci so now u tell me who wins? God bless and have a nice day don't judge all by 1

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