Town Square

Our Town: Trying to end panhandling

Original post made on Oct 27, 2007

The Palo Alto community realized a long-desired goal of doing something meaningful about the problem of homeless people when the Opportunity Center opened last September.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 9, 2007, 12:00 AM


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Posted by John banks
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 27, 2007 at 10:38 am

Need Milk.
St Vincents dinning room at 820 B Street is out of milk.

Panhandling for milk.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2007 at 5:55 am

Panhandlers need to be licensed and required to report income and pay taxes on it. Hey, we make minimum wage waiters report tips, and they work for them.

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Posted by Joan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2007 at 7:00 pm

They wouldn't keep panhandle in our town if people didn't keep giving them money. I have watched as people enter or leave Whole Foods and give money to a panhandler. We are our own worst enemy.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2007 at 4:10 am

Guilt is a powerful motivator.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2007 at 10:52 am

I walk down University Avenue in Palo Alto daily and I can attest to the fact that there are many more homeless people in the downtown area since the opportunity center opened. I have even begun to stop walking my usual route, eating at my usual places and buying necessities at the usual place downtown. There are just too many homeless ready for a fight if you don't give them money. Restorative policing did not work in San Rafael and it won't work here. I have spoken with several of the police officers and local shop owners and they don't think it is working at all. What has happened in San Rafael is that the residents have become jaded to the presence of the aggressive and non-aggressive homeless and have learned to avoid any contact with them. Isn't that just great for the law-abiding residents of San Rafael? How far are we going to go in appeasing the homeless and their vocal advocates before we begin to stand up for the rest of us? I think people like to pretend that the opportunity center was the solution. In reality, it was just the beginning of a much larger problem coming our way. I'm waiting for my youngest to graduate from Palo Alto High School and then I'm out of here before property values begin reflecting the reality of the downtown area.

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Posted by TC merchant/Palo Alto resident
a resident of University South
on Oct 29, 2007 at 11:04 pm

I work in TC village and the last two days have been confronted by the same homeless man directly in our store. He has no interest in paying for any service we provide, but he continues to demand to speak with someone and have someone answer his questions, it is obvious we cannot help him. We direct him to a source that can help and he refuses to listen or take the referral advise. Fortunately both times we were ready to close, and we have so far been able to free ourselves from him. A second homeless man appeared today also demanding attention, in a very rude manner. Over the years we have served several kind, considerate homeless clients . We considered them "Palo Alto regulars" for over the past 10-15 years, and it has been our pleasure to serve these wonderful citizens. These recent encounters appear to be from the opportunity center and they are scary. We don't want to make a fuss because we fear retaliation.

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Posted by California Ave shopper
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 30, 2007 at 12:07 am

There have been three recent - and troubling - incidents on California Avenue.

One where feces were spread on the windows of a well-known, and long-established service.

Another two where *very* threatening behavior was driected at store owners in, and outside of, their respective stores. This was *seriously intimidating behavior*.

Homelessness is a tragedy, period. We need to do everything we can for the homeless.

But we also need to draw a *firm* line of NO TOLERANCE for antisocial behavior.

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Posted by TK
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:59 am

Mayor Gavin Newtson in his State of the City address yesterday said the number of homeless in SF has dropped. Where do you suppose they've gone - right here to Palo Alto. San Francisco accomplished this by taking away their subsidies and providing them with housing.

I just don't go Downtown anymore or California Avenue. I do all my shopping in Mountain View or Los Altos.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 1, 2007 at 9:57 am

I shop in Mountain View, rarely in Palo Alto. I actually feel sorry for Palo Alto merchants.

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Posted by Lost student
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 5, 2007 at 4:27 pm

I just started trying to find information about the homelessness problem in Palo Alto. Lots is kind of confusing and I’m having trouble getting started. Can someone help me with the answers for some questions, or where to find answers?
How many homeless are there in Palo Alto now? How many were here before the opportunity center? Where did it come from? Where can I find homeless people to talk to besides there? What has the city done about them? How much money does it spend each year on them? What should we do? Are things San Francisco is doing good? How much do they spend?
Thank you for any help.