Life on Skid Row: Panhandlers Are People Fighting to Survive Homelessness

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Folks driving by Rodney don’t know that he’s a hard worker, but at the very least, they should know that asking for help is hard. Begging for change is humiliating. People call you names, spit on you, or even pour hot coffee, but most ignore the panhandlers as if they do not exist. People in their cars could make eye contact and acknowledge that Rodney is a human being, and if they can spare a word of encouragement, they should know it goes a very long way.

He was a hard worker in another life, a laborer on construction sites, doing drywall and putting hammers to nails to get by. But life happens to all of us, and Rodney’s intersected with dope and crime, and his path took him to Skid Row.

Options for real work got slimmer the longer he’s been on the streets; there are no job fairs on Skid Row and no recruiting agencies. The result Rodney can get is meager and doesn’t get him very far ahead. His main job these days is cleaning trash that accumulates on the grounds of a nearby business. Rodney makes $14 a day and sleeps just outside its gate, so he’s never late for work.

Because, like any of us, Rodney might not have it all figured out today, but
he’s working hard at it, and it’s hard work indeed.

Produced by Adam Trunell

More stories from Life on Skid Row:

Life on Skid Row: Happy Monday

Life on Skid Row: Flowers Helped a Homeless Veteran Find Forgiveness

Life on Skid Row: Heartbreaking Story of a Disabled Mom Surviving Homelessness

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