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Gviller

Downtown Vagrants

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I have worked downtown for about eight years now and I have always heard local shop and bar owners complain about the Vagrants and Homeless in Downtown.

I always thought they were full of it when they talked about other towns shipping them here, but it was on the front page of the news on Sunday, and I have noticed a real uptick on the street of begging and panhandling.

This is a very big issue for Greenville and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.

It is a sensitive situation and I dont really dont know what the best solution would be, but if something is not done soon then this could really hurt Greenville's downtown development.

Just wondering what some other thoughts on the situation were.

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What facilities are in place/avialable in Greenville right now to deal with the homeless?

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What facilities are in place/avialable in Greenville right now to deal with the homeless?

They have the summit over by the bus station.

There is always issues with them begging around my Hot Dog cart. Ive had to call the cops a few times. I probally get about 2 customers a day that come up to the cart with some homeless person and they buy them food.

I have no comparison to what it used to be like but it does seem to be a problem.

I actually see a lot of them come down from the bus station to main st with bags. They look like they just got into town.

But heres what I have noticed. They last about 2 - 3 weeks and then they vanish and new ones float in. Its kind of strange. I was even told that there was one lady they arrested for disordilly conduct and they bussed her to greenwood.

I also have alot of them asking for free food. Some just walk away when I say no and once in a while Ill have one of them not stop asking and Ill have to threaten to call the cops.

They have beefed up police presence in the city lately so its been getting a bit better.

Heres my problem.

This weekend was an excellent weekend for Greenville. Huge bike race that was taken away from Philly, drawing maybe 30,000+ . Sat. was a great day for buisness in downtown. We had tons of outsiders in the city for the race and most for the first time. So what does Greenville News do. Sunday paper, front cover a huge headline about vagrants being bused in.

The timing for that article was horrible. It could have waited for todays paper.

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They have the summit over by the bus station.

There is always issues with them begging around my Hot Dog cart. Ive had to call the cops a few times. I probally get about 2 customers a day that come up to the cart with some homeless person and they buy them food.

I have no comparison to what it used to be like but it does seem to be a problem.

I actually see a lot of them come down from the bus station to main st with bags. They look like they just got into town.

But heres what I have noticed. They last about 2 - 3 weeks and then they vanish and new ones float in. Its kind of strange. I was even told that there was one lady they arrested for disordilly conduct and they bussed her to greenwood.

I also have alot of them asking for free food. Some just walk away when I say no and once in a while Ill have one of them not stop asking and Ill have to threaten to call the cops.

They have beefed up police presence in the city lately so its been getting a bit better.

Heres my problem.

This weekend was an excellent weekend for Greenville. Huge bike race that was taken away from Philly, drawing maybe 30,000+ . Sat. was a great day for buisness in downtown. We had tons of outsiders in the city for the race and most for the first time. So what does Greenville News do. Sunday paper, front cover a huge headline about vagrants being bused in.

The timing for that article was horrible. It could have waited for todays paper.

I agree with everything you said, Dogs On Wheels. Yes, it is a story that needs to be written, and it needs to have a prominent spot on the front page, but why on earth did they feel it was necessary to print on such an important weekend for the city?! :blink: I suppose that is what we should expect from these people though. :rolleyes:

Safety and Quality of Life will be the key factors in determining how to solve the problem with vagrants wandering along our downtown streets. There are plnty of places they can go to seek help, if they truly want to begin a new life, but seeing them begging visitors for handouts while appearing and smelling filthy will only ruin our efforts to maintain a World-class city, IMO. Smelly, dirty construction workers are not bad, but street bums doing nothing but begging all day are a detriment to quality local society. Even one of them is one too many, IMHO.

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I've only been approached by vagrants/panhandlers twice since I've lived in Greenville (since 2001).

The first time was in the West End near the ballpark as I was walking back toward North Main from the Ballpark Tour back in March. A woman approached me and another gentleman, whom I met along the way, and asked for handouts. I handed her the business card holder from Ablebody Labor that Suzanne had given us at the ballpark tour. It was all I had. I suggested that she seek employment opportunities and told her that Ablebody may not have anything for her, but it would at least be a good place to start.

The second time was a few weeks after that when a gentleman approached me in Falls Park (near the Bowater building). He asked for money and again, I had nothing to offer him. Then he asked if I knew anyplace he could find a job. He told me then that he had been rounded up and harassed by police (somewhere - don't remember where - Atlanta, I think) and that they had sent him out of town. I really didn't think anything of it at the time. What was nice was that, in the end, he thanked me for taking the time to talk to him at least and said that most people wouldn't even do that. I honestly didn't even want to do that much, but something got the better of me that night.

That's been it, really. I've not noticed much of a problem. Then again, I'm not downtown frequently. I've been harassed more by the people handing out religious material than anything else when I'm downtown.

As for the timing of the article, I must chime in and say I agree 100%. The timing was horrible and obviously intentional. The editor of the Greenville News very likely was fully aware of what they were doing by publishing such a thing when they did. I find this extremely curious since the Greenville News (along with Bi-Lo, Dasani, Minute Maid, Powerade, GHS/UMC, Verizon, Subway, Hampton Inn, and a host of others) was a sponsor of this event. The article could have waited one week, if not a day or two at least. It's not like it's a new problem or one that is going away any time soon. :whistling:

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That's been it, really. I've not noticed much of a problem. Then again, I'm not downtown frequently. I've been harassed more by the people handing out religious material than anything else when I'm downtown.

Don't mean to change the subject but does anybody know if someone needs any special permit(s) to stand downtown and hand out material?

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Don't mean to change the subject but does anybody know if someone needs any special permit(s) to stand downtown and hand out material?

I'm not sure, trippdaddy; however, I'm sure you can contact the city and they can tell you what, if anything, is required.

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I personally think Greenville has one of the smallest, least visible homeless populations of any Southern town of any significance. Columbia, Charleston, Greensboro, Durham, Birmingham, Knoxville, Jax etc. all appear to have more vagrants downtown.

I have lived here for the better part of 11 years. I would say for every panhandler I run into downtown I have been approached by 25 street preachers.

Both the street preachers and the panhandlers have the same right to be downtown as I do as long as they are not aggressively harrassing people...(the same rule applies to me). If I wanted to shop or dine where there are no street preachers, street musicians, or panhandlers, I'll go to the Shops at Gridlock or Haywood Mall.

I think Ben Szobody wrote an article on vagrants because all the other complaints from downtown business owners (crime, parking, loading/unloading, rising rents, trash) failed to resonate with the general crowd at the August 23rd meeting. Eventually the vagrants story was picked up by television media and has been blown slightly out of proportion.

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I would say for every panhandler I run into downtown I have been approached by 25 street preachers.

I would have to agree. This includes several people walking through the crowd handing out religious propaganda during Sister Hazel on Saturday night. Very annoying.

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I went to the West End Neighborhood Associations meeting last night and a big complaint was the number of vagrants spending the night sleeping out side the soup kitchen. Teh officer presnet said they would drive by and if that was the case they would arrest them all.

She said that recently they have cracked down by arresting vagrants sleeping in the park at night and this has driven them out of the park and into the open making them appear more populance that they might be. Either way, if your a vagrant and the city catches you begging or sleeping outside they will aresst you.

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I went to the West End Neighborhood Associations meeting last night and a big complaint was the number of vagrants spending the night sleeping out side the soup kitchen. Teh officer presnet said they would drive by and if that was the case they would arrest them all.

She said that recently they have cracked down by arresting vagrants sleeping in the park at night and this has driven them out of the park and into the open making them appear more populance that they might be. Either way, if your a vagrant and the city catches you begging or sleeping outside they will aresst you.

Maybe they are TRYING to get arrested. At least then, they can sleep inside in the AC and get a few meals too.

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I think Ben Szobody wrote an article on vagrants because all the other complaints from downtown business owners (crime, parking, loading/unloading, rising rents, trash) failed to resonate with the general crowd at the August 23rd meeting. Eventually the vagrants story was picked up by television media and has been blown slightly out of proportion.

Actually, the Greenville Journal had the story on their front page two weeks ago when reporting about James Street homeless and beat downs of area homeless. I know people who talked to both reporters, and said the News showed no interest in the story at first.

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Throwing the homeless in jail is more costly than actually housing and feeding them. I sure hope Greenville comes up with a comprehensive strategy for this.

If the homeless are actually being bussed into the city as it has been claimed, which cities are they coming from? Can Greenville do something about this?

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I would have to agree. This includes several people walking through the crowd handing out religious propaganda during Sister Hazel on Saturday night. Very annoying.

I've found that the man that hands out tracts at the corner of Washington and Main is actually a real nice guy, but you are correct. At virtually any downtown event there can be some very pushy sorts with religious tracts, or street preachers at Piazza Bergamo, etc. Not a pleasant way to enjoy a stroll.

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Just got home from Downtown. I heard that a scrappy looking guy just went into Coffee Underground and stole the their tip jar and ran out. They still havent found the guy but theres a few undercover police officers roaming the streets tonight.

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Just got home from Downtown. I heard that a scrappy looking guy just went into Coffee Underground and stole the their tip jar and ran out. They still havent found the guy but theres a few undercover police officers roaming the streets tonight.

Man, and I put money in there earlier today, too. :angry:

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