Anti-begging demonstrators in Grand Rapids, panhandlers argue they are doing “nothing wrong”

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - For six week the group 'West Michigan Hardly Homeless Panhandlers' has been trying to raise awareness of what they are calling a scam.

The group says if people want to give to charity, there are alternatives to handing someone a dollar out of a car window as you are passing by.

For hours Sunday afternoon the demonstrators held signs of their own with slogans like, "Real change not spare change".  The motto refers to giving to a local shelter rather than giving money to someone standing on the corner with a sign.

FOX 17 spoke with a local panhandler who says the group will confront the beggars and try to get them to abandon the corner.

One panhandler told us they are doing nothing wrong by holding a sign in an attempt to get money from strangers passing by.

"People have the right to hand over a dollar, or change, or a pop, or chips, or whatever they feel that person may need," said a panhandler who identified himself as Jeff.

Panhandling is allowed in Grand Rapids as long as the person does not approach people and badger them for a hand-out.

Bryan Hudson from the group 'West Michigan Hardly Homeless' said, "I think people give because it makes them feel good but what they fail to realize is that they are feeding an addiction."

He went on to say, "You are not helping these people.  All you are doing is creating their death and you don't even see it."

This is the third demonstration in West Michigan this summer.  Other events were held in Holland and Muskegon.

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14 comments

  • Patriot

    They don’t know these people are addicts ! There individuals with individual reasons perhaps we should picket me Hudson’s home for the things he does behind closed doors !! Should I give your secrets up Brian ? Leave the people
    Alone and mind your own issues

    • Your mom

      Over fed white people think they have all the answers, yet they can’t make good food choices. They don’t know hunger, and they are failing to see their own addictive and selfish ways.

    • Iublondie

      They aren’t protesting them. They are trying to help the homeless…by donating to the shelters and programs. They are bringing awareness that many if not most of the panhandlers are not legit. Feeding an addiction is never a positive thing. The group took any donations to the shelters. If people did that instead of giving these people money it would end it.

    • Gary

      Not protesting the homeless, we are trying to help the homeless. The rallies are to end the scammers, the fakes, the druggies, the drunks that lie to get a dollar. We are trying to help the true homeless. If you did research like the group dose you would know what it was about.

  • bRYAN hUDSON

    BRING IT ON GUYS I HAVE BEEN INTERVIEWING AND TALKING TO THESE SCAMMERS FOR OVER A MONTH NOW I KNOW WHO IS HOMELESS AND WHO IS NOT ,THE TRULY HOMELESS I CAN HELP THE SCAMMERS I WANT GONE ,SO IF YOU GOT A BETTER WAY COME SHOW ME . AS FOR MY LIFE GO AHEAD AND PRY INTO IT I GOT NOTHING TO HIDE .BEFORE YOU JUDGE JUST KNOW I HAVE TRIED AND HELPED SOME OF THESES HOMELESS BUT OUT OF 15 THAT I HAVE TALKED TO AND HAVE ON FILM ONLY TWO ARE HOMELESS AND I BRING THEM FOOD AND CLOTHES EVERY WEEK .

    • Annie

      I left your group due to the sarcasm, demeaning and targeting of the homeless. None of you have any empathy and you are simply making fools of yourselves. If you don’t like it, ignore it! I was so embarrassed to be a part of that group and Henny Penny really needs an education. Pathetic!!!

  • bRYAN hUDSON

    AND JUST SO YOU ALL KNOW JEFF HAS A HOUSE AND IS NOT HOMELESS JUST A HEROIN ADDICTION I TRIED TO GET HIM HELP GOT HIM CLEANED UP ONCE AND EVEN TOOK HIM OUT FOR DINNER SO I DO KNOW THESE SCAMMERS

  • Bill Krupar

    I have been trying to keep up with your group on Facebook? what happened / DID YOU BLOCK ME BECAUSE I MADE SOME SENSITIVE REMARKS TOWARD SOME HOMELESS AND GAVE MY OWN TESTIMONIAL? oop – your parallel with the Tea Party where no independent thinking is allowed?

  • tracy

    I dont understand why I got this link…my thang is….people need to get over there selves.panhandlers will always b there yes they need help…no…all these services dont help.u..so they go to streets…we dont like it..its hard way if living if u live through the winters…..I could go on……my means nothing…it is what it is…jave a good day..

  • Justin

    I’m sick of seeing people standing on every corner asking for money. Go get a job and for people who say there are no jobs. … your full of it because I see job openings everywhere. I will give actual homeless people money before these guys. For instance I was at the gas station the other day and a guy asked if I had empty bottles. I did not but I had no problem giving him five bucks because he was working for it. Doing something other than standing there with a sign.

  • Bryan Hudson

    Update I have gotten Jeff the panhandlerva few job offers and interviews now I ts up to him to decide if he wants to work if he turns the job down he gets the scammer sign stay tuned for more updates