Panhandlers may accept credit cards: good or bad idea? Why? FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 3 Apr 1999 22:05:15 -0800 (PST)


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Panhandlers may accept credit cards in San Francisco, CA.

According to the Reuters article below, a proposal before the City "calls
for 80 percent of each contribution made through the credit card system to
go to community homeless programs, with the rest going to the beggar who
snagged the donation."  [According to a SF Examiner editorial, "The
panhandler would keep 20 percent of the amount he or she collects. Some of
that would help pay for the beggar's own stay in a shelter."]

What do you think of this proposal?

Would it benefit panhandlers?  Homeless people?  Nonprofits?  Businesses?

If you were a panhandler, would you participate?  Why or why not?

FWD  Reuters, March 24, 1999

     BEGGARS MAY TAKE PLASTIC

SAN FRANCISCO - Long on generosity but short on cash? Not to worry.
San Francisco panhandlers may soon accept credit cards.

Under a proposal now before San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown,
homeless beggars could be equipped with credit card-type machines that
could accept donations from VISA, American Express, or bank ATM cards.

''It's more than a Band-Aid solution,'' Karen Gatter, who dreamed up the
notion, said in the San Francisco Examiner yesterday.

''What we're looking at is creating a means for homeless people to sustain
themselves.''

Gatter's idea calls for 80 percent of each contribution made through the
credit card system to go to community homeless programs, with the rest going
to the beggar who snagged the donation.

Brown, who has battled rising public anger over homelessness and aggressive
panhandling on San Francisco streets, said in a statement he was ''excited
about this innovative plan, which empowers homeless persons to take
responsible action for their lives.''

But Terry Hill, San Francisco's coordinator for homeless issues, was less
enthusiastic, saying such issues as how to guarantee the security of credit
card numbers would have to be addressed.

END FORWARD

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