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Panhandlers in Milford: What You Have To Say About It

Hundreds of Milford residents weigh in on the topic.

File photo
File photo

When Patch ran a story yesterday about a Milford resident creating a petition for “action against panhandling” in the city, his goal was to attract 1,000 signatures.

At the time he had just six signatures, and just one day later it’s up to 174 signatures.

The subject of panhandling in Milford has ignited comments on social media and the actual story. On Facebook there are close to 100 comments, 122 likes, and on the story there are 40 comments.

Milford resident Lenny Addario, who started the petition drive, states on Facebook:

“I am the one who started the petition to impose some sort of fine or law against these people. I also have been the first to donate or help others in need family, friends and strangers. These people who are consistently out there have been seen by many getting into and out of the drivers seat of reasonably nice cars, and on smart phones. They have refused work when offered. 

"They are always clean cut and appear to be well fed. Their clothes appear to be washed regularly. They can apply for jobs and work if they have all the above. And if they don't and they are truly homeless there are places in and around Milford that can help them. I can't say all of them because I don't know for sure but most are scammers preying on the kind-hearted taking advantage of Milford's good nature "the little city with a big heart… But these people do not belong here not in my town preying on Milford's good nature.”

A majority of commenters echoed Addario’s sentiment, but some didn’t.

Steph Cuzino wrote on Facebook: “Saddened that so many Milford residents want to make the less fortunate simply "go away.” Gentrification, anyone? The problem still exists even if you don't see it. And for the record, the problem is not people begging for money. The problem includes, but is not limited to, limited resources for those in need via shelters, jobs, access to affordable mental health and medical care or addiction services; and the systemic roundabout of the systems that keep people impoverished right where they are.”

  • Below is a sampling of the comments. And here’s another chance to tell us what you think: What’s the best way to address panhandlers in Milford? Tell us in the Comments section below.

Veronica Marie Thennes: It's sad! I am more than willing to give food and even money to someone who is really in need. The issue is with all the scamming you can't tell who truly is in need.

Adam Wisniewski: Yeah I have been seeing a lot of these people in Milford lately I have lived in Milford most of my life and it has never really been to big of an issue but lately there just everywhere in Milford it's getting to be a problem in my opinion.

Barbara Wood Carroll: Tragic that people have such difficulties being faced with the harsh reality there are homeless, disenfranchised, mentally ill people in Milford. Where would you like them to go? Or if they have nothing (no car, no cell phone, etc) , then would it be ok for them to ask for help?

Tom List: I welcome the end to panhandling in Milford it is an eye sore! I help as many people as I can each year, but there is nothing wrong with them helping them-self along the way.

Aimee Morgan Chase: I signed it! It's not that I am a giving person but its uncomfortable. They stare you down and roll their eyes. I have seen it all. When one is on every corner there is a problem. Time to get a job like everyone else in America!

Karin Gilbert: I feel like people need to show a little more compassion. Until you know someone's story or what they're going through, don't be so quick to judge.

Cornell Schreiber: Don't know how many people remember back when their signs would read "Homeless, Hungry, Will work for food, please help" I watched over by Barnes & Noble as a woman went over to McDonalds and bought a large sack of food, handed it to the guy, after she was clean out of sight, he tossed the food into the bushes as though it was a bag of trash.

Bill Briggs: It’s overwhelming how blatantly in compassionate people can be. We should start a petition to get rid of all the selfish, self absorbed, people who can't differentiate the diff between need and want and can't function without finding something to complain about.

Peggy Hall O’Hara: I can't stand seeing the panhandlers, the one by the truck stop tells you how much you should give him and it changes depending on what day it is!!!


Shira Kostika June 26, 2014 at 11:43 AM
when passing them by, it would be nice if instead of money or food we could provide them with a simple job they are capable of doing, and money for doing that job. Perhaps a list with suggestions of places that are willing to give them temporary work and good pay, and then once that work is completed, they share their story here on Patch and we provide them with praise for a job well done (as well as more job offers). That way we create a work force of people and encourage the economy and get rid of poverty. A community based system would be great- if there was a constantly updated list wherein every citizen can offer a simple job (i.e. clean yard or gutters, mow lawn or weeding, collect newspaper, help an old lady cross the street, help a shopkeeper repaint the store sign, etc.) to those who would take it, and a payment price, and those looking for work can simply schedule a time to do the job and sign up- Joblessness would disappear for a while. I think the problem lies in the fact that awareness is nul, and if they are scammers, they will be unwilling to do simple things to help themselves and the community. If they really are needy, they will seek a way to survive and thrive by helping the community rather than holding signs and waiting for some goodwill.
jabatti June 26, 2014 at 11:44 AM
Milford Residents, Please you see the same people every day! I have seen Kurt "the man with the prosthetic leg" go and dump his shopping bag in the bushes while he is o duty on Cherry St. Some days he has a cast on his arm to make you feel even more sorry for him. The cast comes & goes, I think it is removable. Kurt moves up to Cherry St. across from the Vet too. I have seen him walk there. One of them lives in downtown Milford. They are all very clean, well dressed and some do have cell phones, I have seen them sneak a call behind their card board posters. There are plenty of jobs these individuals can do. It isn't just being an eye sore, it just makes Milford look like we can't handle these pan handlers like other cities do. Milford, let's get on board!
Justsaying June 26, 2014 at 02:14 PM
If you object to panhandling, don't give to them. Someone must be giving to them or they would not be sticking around. If you want to help truly homeless in need, give to Beth El Shelter, the Salvation Army or some other worthy nonprofit focused on this issue.
Lawrence Reynolds June 26, 2014 at 04:51 PM
I used to have to deal with these "professional beggars" on a daily basis as a security officer. At least 50% of the pros were driving better vehicles than the one I was able to afford. One guy even went to his brand new truck and did a costume change to make himself look more needy because he wasn't raking it in fast enough. One lady got into a brand new Volvo, got on her cell phone, and drove off flipping me the bird. I have offered food, work, and blankets to some of them. All refused, because they only wanted cash! Then there is the issue of the truly dangerous ones. Career felons who had no problem threatening the security officers who had to deal with them. One in particular had a long criminal history, including assaults. He once threatened to "put four bullets in my chest", because part of my assigned duties included having him removed from a client's property. This guy had not one, but three cellphones...which he used to call me from after being arrested once after he got my phone number from the police report while being booked! Nothing like repeated 2am phone threats against your life! He bragged how he made over four hundred dollars a day, and funny...he never had to "work" on rainy/snowy/cold days! Now, on the flip side of the coin, I once ran into a young couple that I could tell were truly in need. I helped them out in a pretty big way because I felt that if a few hundred bucks would change their lives and get them where they needed to be, it was well worth it. They needed money to get to a warmer state where they could start fresh. Bought them lunch, gave them food for them and their dog for travelling, drove them to the place where they could get a Greyhound bus and gave them as much cash as I was able to. Never saw them after that, so I know they weren't like the phonies that have been begging in the same spots for years! I believe in giving people a hand-up, but not a hand-out! Something desperately needs to be done about the scam artists!
Dorothy Bateman June 27, 2014 at 07:16 AM
As for Kurt, the newspaper did a story on him and his fellow roomers when they were burned out of their home on North St. His story is real. Kurt does his meager shopping in Shop-Rite. He lives in one room and that bag he put in the bushes was his food. He does not claim to be homeless. The cast is real, I've seen it firsthand. He gets treated at the VA hospital. That being said, I for one think most panhandlers are fake. To be in need for a handout every single day, week after week, month after month says something in itself. Other than Kurt, I avoid all other panhandlers. I would like to see them gone. Am I heartless, no, just tired of being taken for a ride by phonies.

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