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You fly on the corner

Yet stay on the ground

This way of life

Won't let you turn around

Make a change

Put your sign down

Go a new way

Life waits to be found  



Where can I take a Shower? - by Stephanie Thomas

It's something we take for granted. We get up in the morning and take a shower. If we need to wash our hands we go to the sink. If we want to wash our clothes we put them in the wash. For people living on the street and in tents, getting clean and staying clean is not so easy. Fortunately, in Greensboro, we have the Interactive Resource Center on Washington Street. For people who are homeless, being able to go there to take a shower and wash clothes is a real blessing. Unfortunately, for people who live away from downtown, it can be difficult for them to get to the IRC, especially on a daily basis. In California, Doniece Sandoval, came up with a solution: She turned retired city buses into mobile shower units. 




2:06 pm edt          Comments

Drugs on the Corner
There are so many reasons why young women are begging, and unfortunately in Greensboro, we are seeing more young women out on the street corners every day. The reasons vary from mental illness, to abuse, to neglect, but drug addiction is also a big problem. Drug addiction devastates the lives of our young people, and many of the young women and girls you see the on the street corners today have children. There is some help available, but not enough. Please give generously to those on the front lines who are doing all they can to help.
11:20 am est          Comments

Who Cares for Her?

I talked to Jennifer today. She flys (or begs) in front of the Wal-Mart on Wendover. She was there with her husband of 12 years. When I spoke with her she was standing in the shade trying to cool down. It's going to be almost 100 degrees today and when I got there around 12:00 it was already sweltering. She said her husband was flying in order to give her a break but that most of the time he wanted her to fly. That is one of the tradgedy's I see on the street corners. When you see a woman flying there is a good chance there is a man in her life who is basically pimping her out to beg for him. I will continue to visit Jennifer and hopefully over time she will trust me enought to tell me how she ended up begging on the corner.

While I was there I watched him fly his sign for just a few minutes and then he sent Jennifer back to the corner to beg... 


(Jennifer is not her real name. I have changed it to protect her.)  

1:42 pm edt          Comments

Rules of the Game

 They all have rules for flying their signs. They have a way of doing things, like smiling and waving. It is their way of showing appreciation for what you give them. 

4:12 pm est          Comments


While I was doing the interviews for this book quite a few people told me that they were angry with people who begged. They belived that people who begged made a lot of money by taking advange of others. There is a lot of misunderstanding in the community about this subject. A lot of that comes from the media. Every person I have met who begs in Greensboro is destitue. 

11:32 pm est          Comments

Personal Belongings

If a person who is begging and homeless they frequently have all of their belongings with them. What do they have? What is important to them? Where do they hide it? How does it feel to have all of your earthly belongings in the pack on your back? 

7:04 pm est          Comments


When you see someone begging be aware that there are many more people living in poverty you don't see.

9:06 am est          Comments


 Most of the beggars I met, both men and women, usually tell those who ask them that they make more money than they do. I believe they want to save face. They need to justify their behavior to society, and, more important, they need to justify it to themselves. In the end, it does not matter how much they make per hour begging, because the long-term effects on them and their families are devastating.

6:39 pm est          Comments

Walk on By...

 “Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someone's whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.”

~Mike Yankoski

11:55 pm est          Comments

Pregnant and Cold

When I first went out onto the street corners, I didn't understand how people could drive past a young pregnant woman standing in the cold and snow, on Sunday after church, and not stop to give her a few dollars. Most people have a good heart. People don't give because they are afraid to do the wrong thing. They don't want to enable someone in what might be self destructive behavior. If you want to give, give a kind word, a smile, or a wave, then give to Urban Ministries, The Salvation Army or The Interactive Resource Center or some other charitable organization, but please give... 

11:07 pm est          Comments


A vast majority of women who have been on the streets for longer than six months are likely to have been assaulted and/or raped. As an essential survival tactic, homeless women make themselves as invisible as possible so as not to be noticed. ~Colorado Coalition for the Homeless  

1:55 am est          Comments

Excerpt from The Greensboro Voice

 Before I met individual's struggling with homeslessness, I had no idea of their capacity to be generous and share what little they had. To be honest, I believed that people who were homeless, and individuals who begged, only took from others and never gave. I saw many instances where people who were homeless  and begging gave to each other. They shared their food, what little money they had, a place to sleep if they had it, and transportation when they had it. More importanlty they geneorusly gave their time, their concern, encouragement, their counsel, and their friendship. It's a humbling realization. Most of us have so much and yet we give so little. These individuals have so little, and some have nothing at all, and yet from that they give so much.

9:42 am est          Comments

Excerpt from Pushed to the Corner

 When I first began to notice them standing on the corners with their signs I tried to avoid them. I'd slow down, change lanes, or rush through a light so I wouldn't get stuck next to one of them while I waited for the light to change. Whenever I did have to stopI'd look away, pretend they weren't there, and hope they didn't see me. On occasion however I'd roll down my window and hand them a couple of dollars. The inconsistency of my actions came from a feeling of helplessness.

8:44 pm est          Comments

Wage Inequality

 "Poor, uneducated women do not have a realistic place in the current labor market, designed to support nuclear families with male breadwinners. Many poor woman are forced into service sector jobs that do not pay the livable wage or provide necessary benefits." ~Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

9:06 pm est          Comments

Give a Package of Small Comfort

This is without a doubt a country filled with generous people. It's difficult for many of us to pass a woman who is begging on the corner and not stop to help her. We know however that as much as we might care about the woman and her situation, we as individuals do not have the means to help her in a substantial way. The majority of us simply do not have the training, the money, or the time to help a woman who is  begging to get off the street.  But we can give a small amount of comfort and assistance to her. If you'd liked to help, the following is a short list of items you can put in a ziplock bag to give to a woman who is begging on a corner near you: sunscreen, chapstick, gloves, hand-warmers, tissues, a small pad and pen, hard candy, gum, deodorant, and bottled water. 

5:00 pm est          Comments

Why are Some Women Homeless?

Domestic Violence

"A high percentage of homeless women have experienced domestic or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Violence against women is a major cause of women's homelessness." Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

8:42 pm est          Comments

Women's Shelters

Many people have asked me why some of the homeless women they see on the corners are not staying in a shelter. It's possible they are staying in a shelter. The problem is that most shelters only allow women to stay from 7:00 pm to 8:00 am. The rest of the time is spent outside.

Urban Ministry has 14 beds for women. To stay at Pathways an individual must have an income. Clara's House has room for 26 women with children. Please give to these shelters and help keep our women and children off the streets.


5:25 pm est          Comments

New Faces

There are a lot of new faces begging on the street corners this fall. There are more women begging now than there were in 2010. They are all in desperate need for one reason or another, but giving money to them only enables their problem. If you want to help, give them a drink, or a smile, or an encouraging word. 



9:51 am edt          Comments

9:48 am edt          Comments

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