Thursday, July 24, 2008


As most of you know, we just moved back from St. Louis last month, and ever since then there's one major change I've noticed since we've moved back: There are a ton of "homeless" people standing with "help me" signs on the side of the roads around Springfield. I know economic times have really hurt a lot of people and maybe that's why I'm seeing so many people with cardboard signs around town, but my curiosity is if organizations and community leaders are also noticing this trend.

I think it would be nice if people who are genuinely in need of assistance would be helped, but I also hope they're not scamming to make a buck. On my commute to work in St. Louis, I saw a man at the 141/I-44 interchange nearly every day collecting "spare change" from motorists. Some days he had a crutch he'd hang onto, but other days he was walking around perfectly fine. It seemed wrong to me, honestly. It's one thing to go through a tough time and need some extra cash; it's another to make a living on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. If he could get $1 from at least 10 people in one hour, well then he'd be doing better than the zit-faced teenager working right next to him at Hardee's -- and he's not paying taxes on that money. Now, just like the next person, I want people with genuine need to be helped. But what I don't want is for people to make an illegitimate living on the side of the road with a Sharpe.

Any insight on Springfield's increase in this trend? Has any news organization reported on this?

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