New program to discourage Windsor panhandlers
Published Sunday, May 26, 2013 6:36PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 27, 2013 9:11AM EDT
Panhandlers are part of urban culture.
For some, offering some change is a practice, while for others it's an annoyance.
The City of Windsor is now looking towards a new program to offer alternatives for those who beg for money.
Matt Schneider, 21, says the key to success as a panhandler is silence.
"When I see people out here going, 'Do you have 50 cents?' That's why people hate us, if you don't bug anyone you are going to get more," says Schneider.
He adds creativity is a must.
"Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then be Batman, spare change for coffee, food, weed," Schneider says jokingly.
For two months, he has spent his days on Ouellete Avenue collecting money from strangers.
City officials say he is the perfect candidate for the downtown Windsor street outreach program.
"We talk with the homeless people, we bring them to a restaurant ask them if maybe they want a coffee and help them to take care of themselves," says Larry Horwitz of the Downtown Windsor BIA.
Surveys taken from last years program found unusual results.
"We found out they are not really homeless. They do get an income but that income isn't enough to buy some of the necessities," says Horwitz.
"A lot of us our on welfare but with only $225...sometimes to have to choose if you can pay for rent or not," says Schneider.
The program was developed after several concerns from business owners.
A Windsor panhandler sits on the sidewalk on Ouellette Avenue on Sunday, May 26, 2013.
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