This is my response to the issue of panhandlers in Sun City.
There is a war in Sun City on panhandlers and it is a war in which I chose not to participate. I may have a different perspective because, though I am a weekly shopper at Fry’s at 107th and Grand avenues, I have never been asked for money and have rarely seen a panhandler there.
Panhandlers represent a failure of our society. Statistics show one of every four panhandlers has served in the military, 82% are homeless, one in four are alcoholics and 32% are addicted to a drug other than alcohol, and a vast majority have some sort of mental illness. These are all problems that are not being adequately addressed, and each year the problems get worse.
The rising cost of housing, opioid addiction, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and mental health issues have all contributed to a system that is not only inadequately funded but vastly overwhelmed.
I don’t have a solution to the panhandling problem. But one suggestion would be for people who stood in the median at 107th and Grand avenues holding signs telling motorists not to give money to panhandlers (“Residents take a stand,” Sun City Independent, Dec. 22, 2021) to be more like the people who rang the bell for the Salvation Army during the holiday season. The Salvation Army does not “say no” to people in need — and neither will I.
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