To The Editor:
Mayor Bill de Blasio claims some panhandlers are doing it for fun. In the past, he had said he wished he could eliminate panhandling. Yet, in my opinion many are doing so because they are homeless and have either little or no income to speak of.
They need to eat and have needs like many of us do. Does he want to starve the homeless out of existence and by that the issue will go away?
There are many who are addicts, chemical dependent and those who are mentally ill. Also, there are those who have fallen on hard times, like veterans who have found it hard to handle the high cost of housing. They have no choice but to panhandle. What is the de Blasio administration doing to help the many who are in great need? As reported on the internet, “Homelessness in the Big Apple has skyrocketed under de Blasio’s watch to its highest since 2005, statistics show there are 3,892 people living on the street, 40 percent more than last year.”
Let me also point out that there are more than 60,000 living in shelters and motels paid for by the city and taxpayers. I see quite a few panhandlers in Glen Oaks Village, and quite a few of our residents and businesses find this most troubling.
I myself had found myself homeless in 1975 after my release from the U.S. Navy and was forced to ask for spare change for a while until I was offered a place to live by the kindness of a stranger named Cyril, who emigrated from Nigeria and understood homelessness. I truly feel the pain of the homeless and ask the city to do more.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village