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May 01, 2005

Comments

jean

I have commented before about this, though not as straightforward. In addition to Walgreens, I have been "asked" in front of the Broadway Royal Donuts and Il Piccolo. Both shops have been very kind to the PHers, providing free coffee. I am brightened by these shops generosity, hey, what's a cup of coffee for the needy? Though, I don't think it adds to the charm Broadway Avenue is looking toward. I do not have a solution, but there must be another way to give.

Patrick Jensen

I hate when people say that these folks are "professional Panhandlers"... or tell contrived second hand stories about how they heard of some panhandler rakeing in $1000 in one day, and then getting picked up in a limo..." BS!

If you don't like it, do something to help them. As individuals. Don't refer to them as if they are some second class, not deserving the same respect as everyone else...

I remember when I was in 5th grade I sold the Chronicle in front of Saint Catherines Church, I was always so astounded when there would be a houseless person looking for some help, and people leaving church would smirk or make comments to me about, "why don't they get a job..." etc. etc.

I could never believe it... people leaving a place founded on the basic maxim of 'love thy neighbor as thyself', constantly looking the other way, or judging, or worrying about consumers...

And if I didnt have finals to worry about, I would rail on longer.

Patrick Jensen

Also, Nobody wants to be houseless. These people have the same basic needs as the rest of us. Many struggle with issues that the County lacks sufficient and readily available services for:

1) Drug addiction
2) Mental illness
3) Generalized poverty

Before you judge, judge yourself...

Jenn

I have a nice Fiona story to tell. About a year ago, a fellow who walked the streets in shoes made of plastic bags, and a plastic bag "hat" used to sleep in the back of Washington Park on a Parks and Recs. trailer for several hours a day. He was a large man, and was probably mentally ill. I could see how people would have been frightened of him, but not Fiona. Fiona was often times working by herself in the Archives and would often try and converse with the man, as she felt sorry for him. He never answered or responded in anyway, but went about his business, sleeping in the peacefulness of the park. He never bothered anyone, as far as I know. A neighbor of mine tried to give him a pair of tennis shoes, but he declined. I wonder what happened to him?

jean

Patrick, I do not disagree. I'm certainly not judging, but as I said, I also don't have a solution to for Tee's post. I just like seeing the generosity from the Broadway shops.

I don't know if it's the same fellow, but I did see a guy in similar plastic wear walking the El Camino about two months ago.

Fiona

It is always difficult to known when to give and when not to. (Perhaps the money could be going to something other than food?!) but you are also damned if you do and damned if you dont.

There used to be a lady who sat near the Copenhagen and after giving her money one day, I was screamed at by this woman who told me I was "encouraging those people" and "how dare I give her money". The screamer was enjoying the best latte and pastries on the Peninsula and was screaming at me for giving a dollar! Quite ironic really!

James

There are several organizations that one in dire straits can get help here in San Mateo County. In Burlingame for example, there is CALL Primrose who will give those in need ahelping hand with food. Samaritan House in San Mateo will also help with food and clothing. I would encourage those who want to help others to refer them to at least these two organizations. They will be helped in the short term and be sent in the right direction for further asiistance. You can also help those in need by volunteering or donating to these organizations.

Constance

I have been a volunteer at the C.A.L.L. Primrose Center for 5 years and have seen firsthand how much the homeless population has escalated in San Mateo County. There are many resources that we can refer the homeless to. Once we establish them as a client, they are entitled to come in to the C.A.L.L. Center once a week and are given "walking around" food which is food that does not have to be cooked or prepared. Most of the homeless through circumstances beyond their control have lost jobs while their rent has escalated thereby forcing them to live in their car or on the street. Many are very articulate and grateful for help. Please do not judge the homeless as all being into drugs, drink, etc. Of course, some are but many are living day by day hoping that their living conditions change.

C.A.L.L. Primrose is located at 139 Primrose Rd, Burlingame and the hours are 9 to 3. We also take any donations from the public such as canned and dry food and dairy and meat items. Many generous people on the peninsula bring in the fruit from their trees and vegetables from their garden. The Burlingame Police and Fire Department have always generously donated their time for a toy drive around the holidays.

Stop in and see us and please refer anyone you see on the streets to our place. We never turn anyone away who is hungry.

Jenn

There used to be a couple who had a cat on a leash., the woman was always drunk and they were often in front of Walgreens. Then they moved over to the Chevron Station in San Mateo at Woodlake, and basically camped out of an old Volvo in the parking lot, and relieving themselves in the small dirt islands. It was a mess. Somebody finally must have reported them, because I haven't seen them at all, lately.

Brad

Wells Fargo parking lot entrance looks like it is being useful to at least one person. Today there was a roll of discarded carpet and a pillow so perhaps that is the home of one of our homeless.

Anne

I have mixed feelings about this subject, but no immediate solution. One thing I noticed is that most of the charities I donate to send me mailing labels. I often wish some of the local ones would instead send me business cards with the services they offer instead. Hours of operation and map on one side and name and phone number on the other. Then if I was confronted by a person in need, I could provide them with the card. While the change I give or food bar may help, I think it's pale in comparison to the services some of these organizations offer.

As far as the ph on Broadway, sometimes they surprise me. Several months back, one of them actually offered to buy me a cup of tea. I politely declined and she put the buck in the tip jar.

bill

It's one thing to ask citizens for money. It's another to be rude and aggressive. That's what happened to me six months ago in downtown Burlingame. The cops showed up and escorted both offending guys out of the immediate area. It wasn't pretty.

Bruce

Perhaps County/local governments should come up w/ similar "Care Not Cash welfare reform" program (SF) to assist those PHs. But the question is "where is the $$ coming from?"

Tee

I have noticed during year that homeless people have been camping out in the parking lot behind Books Inc. I have spoken to Park dept. employees about the mess they have to clean up and are disapointed that there seems to be no solution or end to the problem.

Jenn

It's troubling that we have a few good shelters nearby, but the campers don't want to use these facilities. I have also noticed a few of them around. I cannot help but wonder if they aren't transplants from SF., since Newsoms program is in full swim, maybe they'd rather be elsewhere (?). I support what that mayor is doing. He has modeled his program after NYC. Having just been there, in many different areas, including Central Park, I have to say that there are very, very few visible homeless. I probably see more in Burlingame than I saw there. There is also no panhandling allowed. So instead, there are homeless advocates (many are themselves homeless or previously homeless) who set up tables with pamphlets and money jars for donations. It is totally non-aggressive. I don't know where their homeless have gone, though. Maybe the suburbs have issues. When we went, it wasn't very cold, so I expected to see more. I'm sure there are issues in dead winter.

fred

Burlingame has always had homeless people. Some of them have been really nice and some smelled really bad. But more often than not people have been kind and considerate to them. It speaks well of the citizens of Burlingame.

I don't think these are the transplants Burlingame has to worry about. There seems to be an ongoing trend in the blogs of let us move anything we don't like elsewhere.

jean

Todays SF Chronicle reports on Care Not Cash:

One year ago, there were 2,400 homeless people drawing welfare checks, but the number has plummeted 73 percent to 653 people today, all of whom are on the vastly reduced monthly grants. To date, 789 homeless people have been moved into rooms and, from the critics to the residents, reviews of the housing conditions all year have been enthusiastic.

That leaves 958 people who city officials say either left town, declined to remain in the program or found other ways to get by.

However, the article states that some folks maintain panhandling, finding it tough to live on their slashed welfare checks of $59 a month, down from the former $410 maximum.

The monthly cut has provided a $14.2 million fund for housing.

I do not know if the folks in Burlingame are homeless/houseless, or if panhandling is their income, or both. But the article supports what Jenn posted. Those who "left town" (to Burlingame, maybe) and those that "left the program" (like Burlingame campers who don't use our facilities).

jean

Yes, the folks are really nice, and as I stated before, some of local shops/residents are very kind to this segment of our community.

Jim

Fred, I don't think anyone is telling the homeless to move elsewhere. In fact from the above blogs, most people are sympathetic to those who cannot afford a Burlingame starter home. Or even the DBID assessment fees for a temporary home in the Wells Fargo entrance! Just a joke, Fred!

fred

You guys joke about that money an awful lot. Pretty easy to do when it isn't your money.

Oh wait, it is your money now.

slahey

I think I will get some of the business cards of the CALL business cards...

I like the food bar idea...a bottle of water is also a good alternative...

S

bill

Using the vacant, and deteriorating, Wells Fargo building next to Walgreens as a homeless facility is an excellent idea. But it won't fly. Can you imagine the outcry from nearby property owners and some residents? That idea has as much chance of coming to fruition as does the notion of Jane Fonda being asked to speak over at the VFW meeting hall.

Jim

I don't think anyone is asking. It is already being used as a homeless "shelter" unless it is a coincidence that there is a cosy little bed and pillow set up in the entrance!

Gerald

There is some organization which stations a charity worker in front of Walgreen's on Broadway.
*****
Maybe the city of Burlingame should hire some people or station one of its own staffers to solicit donations from passers-by, since many folks are "allergic" to paying taxes and BID fees. Just a thought...
*****
As for more serious "pan-handling," there is some sort of half-way house on El Camino and some of its residents are routinely seen asking for change from customers/residents/business people here on Broadway. It's too bad the city allowed such a group to set up shop without having the home find daily activities for these people. (I am not against the group being here, by the way, but I do think there should be more supervision of these people.)
*****

Jenn

Where is the half-way house on El Camino? Also, I cannot remember what happened to the outreach program with the church. I think it is ongoing, but they were going to have some facility in North Burlingame for (if I recall correctly) showers, beds, computer training/job hunting. I could be wrong or maybe the money ran out.

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