This topic has really been on my mind a lot recently. Time and time again I hear and read people always saying "Oh I am so sick of always being hit up for change by homeless in downtown"
Am I the only one that it isn't as much of a nuisance as it is to some people? I mean, some people act and talk like they are chased for blocks and blocks scared for their lives from someone asking for change.
I have never, and I repeat NEVER been hassled by a homeless person outside of the following conversation:
Homeless Person "some spare change?"
....and I keep walking
End of conversation and interaction. It's really just become a reflex action to take a split second say sorry and carry on with my day. Yeah, it can be annoying at times, but so can those people at suburban strip mall asking for your signature on everything imaginable or someone asking you to donate what ever the cause of the day is...I simply say sorry 99% of the time, and carry on with my day.
I have never had anyone give me lip when I say no, anyone follow me, or feel like my life was in danger...and I am a 5"7' white guy. If they are going to mess with someone, they are going to mess with me.
I can spend hours in downtown and it might happen once or twice in an hour or two period, most of the time never. I really don't get it when people talk like they are being lynched by homeless people.
Also, I hope people realize that downtown area does not only encompass K Street Mall, which I think most people only consider downtown, and the immediate surrounding areas. I live around the Fremont Park neighborhood a handful of blocks outside of the central business district and I have NEVER been hit up by a panhandler around my house in the year and half I have lived there, and I have walked from bars and restaurants 10-15 blocks away at all hours of the day from morning time, afternoon, early evening, to 3 at night.
Yes, there are homeless in downtown, ALL cities have homeless in downtown areas. In fact, I think the ones in Sacramento are tame compared to other cities I have been to. The ones I and others I know have encountered in NY and SF will literally follow you yelling profanities at you on a rare occasion. Once again, I have never had this happen to me in Sacramento.
Now, until there are more people in the central business district area, this "problem" will always be there. If you are the only one walking on a block with 3 homeless people there, I can see how some people would be scared, but if you have 50 people walking on that block with the same 3 homeless people, they blend right in barely noticed.
If you go to the 18th and Capitol Ave area in the evening, I have seen a handful of homeless people around there from time to time, but they mix right in since the streets are filled with people going to and from the establishments in the area.
The other example I always use, and "Jetrock" touched on it in the comments section of the historic buildings post, is Union Square in San Francisco. There are lots of homeless people in and around Union Square with lots of SROs in the area as well, but since there are lots of other people in the area walking the streets, you barely notice them unless you trip over them.
Downtown suffers from an image problem that stems directly from K Street Malls run down nature, and nfortunately all the other downtown areas images suffer because of it. That's why the K Street projects are the most important in my mind. Once the baorded up store fronts go away and new retail establishment bring people into the area in a year or two, I think you will hear people's opinions of downtown as a whole change.
Give me your worst homeless person experience in downtown....