Panhandling for “Fun”?

The Story

Mayor de Blasio recently made some off-the-cuff comments about panhandling that ruffled feathers among his allies on the progressive Left. Saying that it is “off-putting” when people beg for money on the street, the mayor added that he wished the practice were illegal, and that some people do it for “fun.” Mayor de Blasio appears to be attempting to minimize the growing problem of street homelessness by implying that the many visible people begging for money on the streets of the city are not really needy, but are just scammers. The mayor ought to take the statistics seriously and begin to tackle the problem of street homelessness.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. A Growing Problem: Street homelessness has risen by 39% over the last year. Read more.

  2. Sick: A significant proportion of the city’s homeless population—upwards of 25%—have severe mental illness. Read more.

  3. Failing: The mayor’s “HomeStat” program, which focuses intensively on outreach to the homeless on the street, has a very low rate of success. Read more.

“Sometimes we see people on the street who are bluntly just panhandlers, who are actually not even homeless. I wish that were illegal. It’s not illegal.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Holiday Homelessness Hype By Heather Mac Donald (Winter 2003)

“Gotham’s mendacious homelessness industry is back in force. Mayor Bloomberg needs to set the advocates straight.

And in other news...

“It has been there, in one form or another, for at least 17 years, making it one of the most notorious examples of that increasing scourge of New York City sidewalks: scaffolding.”