Maine: Jobs for Portland panhandlers ‘program’

Portland would pay $10.68 per hour to those willing and able to work


Dana Burnell said he’d rather be working.

But that’s difficult when you’re homeless and struggling with substance abuse issues, he said, standing at the intersection of Somerset and Franklin streets in Portland holding a cardboard sign that asks for money so he can buy something to eat.

“I’ve always been a working man,” he said on a recent weekday morning, shortly before a driver handed him $2. “I write ‘work’ on my sign and get few offers.”

Soon, panhandlers such as Burnell may not have to look far to find work.

City officials are working on a 36-week pilot program to offer day jobs to panhandlers. A city social worker would drive a van around to busy intersections and offer panhandlers a chance to earn $10.68 an hour cleaning up parks and other light labor jobs. They would be paid at the end of each day.  

Panhandling has been a growing concern in U.S. cities such as Portland, where business owners worry the practice puts a damper on tourism and some residents and visitors complain about panhandlers asking for money on sidewalks and at stoplights. In recent years, panhandlers have spread into smaller communities and staked out street corners in places such as Biddeford, Scarborough, South Portland, Wells, Augusta and Bangor.

Communities’ responses have ranged from passing ordinances that restrict begging to discouraging people from giving directly to panhandlers.

Two years ago, Augusta’s police chief grew so frustrated with panhandlers that he took a day off to stand at an intersection with a cardboard sign telling people to donate to charities, rather than panhandlers.

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21 Comments on Maine: Jobs for Portland panhandlers ‘program’

  1. I’ve been a pan handler before. Also handled pots, dishes, glasses – whatever needed washing, just to make a buck. I guess automatic dishwashers put all these guys out of work, though. So sad.

  2. I live across the bridge from Portland. Ethan Strimling is a left wing azzhat.
    If the Portland Parks Department actually needed help they’d advertise. Guess what, they don’t.
    Portland is becoming unliveable because of the lefties. So. Portland is trying hard to catch up.
    All these frigging out of staters who’ve come here are ruining the place.

  3. Being mentally ill and not working goes together.
    Trump should start a WPA type program where you must work for your check.
    Sweeping the streets
    Shoveling snow from the sidewalks of senior citizens
    Mowing grass.

  4. Homeless and struggling with substance abuse issues. So the city will put them to work and pay them at the end of each day. Are they paying them in cash? Any withholding? $10.68 per hour, they should go on strike before they start, that is not a living wage. How long do you think it will be before the union attempts to either stop this, or to organize and represent them?

  5. I’ve never begged for anything in my life, but I’ve worked for $3.00/hr. scraping paint off of apartment buildings after baiting trout lines in the river in the early mornings.
    After scraping paint all day I ran the trout lines in the evenings to gather the catch. Between the meager earnings, fishing and garden, my wife and two children never went hungry and we made it through the Carter years of high unemployment and 21% interest.

    I suspect it’s much easier to panhandle, hit the food banks and get an EBT card.

  6. Seattle sounds like they’re behind the times!
    Go into any City Hall in any big city run by democRats and you’ll find the largest collection of Dondu Nuthins (relatives of Dindu Nuthin) who would otherwise be on Welfare, sitting around occupying the joint chattering like magpies while you sit there and wait.

  7. “The Man with the Twisted Lip” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1891.

    We’ve known for 125 years that professional beggars can make more money than if they worked for a living. I’m going to print up a bunch of pamphlets of this story and give them to every parasite pan-handler I see asking for money.

    After a hard day’s pan-handling, the beggar gets in his Lexus and drives home. Unless he’s a druggie, then he’d spend about a Lexus payment a week on a drug he CHOSE to be addicted to. While I have 3 part-time jobs.

  8. I don’t get it – we are told Americans won’t do certain jobs because they don’t pay enough and thus we must have illegals and yet here are all these liberal programs in liberal cities for panhandlers that are going to pay under their magic $15 an hour for even more menial work. Sure sounds like we should just boot the illegals and get these folks to work. Win-win.

  9. “but I’ve worked for $3.00/hr….Carter years”

    You do realize that in 1977, that 3.00/hr was worth $12.02/hr in 2017 dollars. In 1980, it was worth $8.84. By 1987 it was only worth $6.41. Plus you said you had a spot to garden, not many places to do that if you don’t own land.

    “We’ve known for 125 years that professional beggars can make more money than if they worked for a living. I’m going to print up a bunch of pamphlets of this story and give them to every parasite pan-handler I see asking for money.”

    How about giving the pamphlets to cops? Cops are bigger parasites than any panhandler. I can chose to give money to a beggar or not. With cops I am forced to pay their bloated paychecks.

  10. How many hours until the city social worker driving the van gets beat up, gang raped, robbed and the van stolen? Maybe that should be minutes.

    This was tried decades ago and in Ohio was called the General Relief Work Program. Here’s what happened:
    – the ACLU filed a law suit that dragged on for years calling it ‘involuntary servitude’ even though these people were working for their cash grants.
    – the unionized Parks Dept. and the unionized Sanitation Dept. had craptastic fits and filed law suits.
    – A very small number of people with motivation made the best of things, got some training and experience and went on to real jobs.
    – the majority used their money for more drugs, more booze, gambling, 25 cent porno movies or stupid stuff like the one who bought a crystal table lighter for his nonexistent table in his nonexistent residence.

  11. @Chris Mallory
    “You do realize that in 1977, that 3.00/hr was worth $12.02/hr in 2017 dollars.”
    I just didn’t realize I was that well off, I was making around $480 a month “that” month, rent was $300, not including utilities, food, gas, car payment and clothes for my wife and two kids. Yeah, during the “Carter Years” I was shittin’ in high cotton and just didn’t realize it.
    I much prefer to pay law enforcement than the users, abusers and losers they deal with every day.

  12. Give them one-way tickets to Honolulu like every other sneaky democrat mayor does. The worthless mentally ill pieces of shit druggies would fit right in, vote the way they’re supposed to, and do their part to make the city smell like out-of-order urinals, vomitoriums, and defecation edification stations.

  13. This may just be a brilliant propaganda campaign. Nothing will make the homeless beat-feet like a threat to make them work. The town will be homeless-free in two weeks.

  14. Chris Malory,

    Where do you get the idea that cops are overpaid? Do you think school teachers are overpaid, too? And if you get robbed, who ya gonna call?

    By the way, the minimum wage is $0.00, when they replace you with a kiosk.

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