Homeless or Hustling? | VideoJenny Castro | 8/3/2012
Homelessness is an unforseen circumstance. And considering the cost of housing in North Dakota, it`s a worry for many people who are on a tight budget.
"I think homelessness in this area took on a different meaning to a lot of people after the flood because they found out, `Oh wow! I don`t have to have straggly hair, I don`t have to have holes in my shoes to be homeless.` And I think that changed the perception," said Minot Area Homeless Coalition executive Director Mac McLeod.
But the ones who look desperate, on the curb, holding cardboard signs are not the ones really struggling to be a part of the community.
"The other people are just moving from one place to another. There`s one guy who went through and I said why did you come here and he said oh my friend has been here and said if you go to North Dakota you need to stop in Bismarck, Minot and Fargo, those people got big hearts, hmm, interesting,” says McLeod.
Just how big? Sometimes these panhandlers or transients are making more than the people paying them.
"Five Days, $250 dollars a day, that`s $1250 tax free,” says McLeod.
"One thing that people need to realize that a lot of these people that are out soliciting for donations have chosen the transient lifestyle that they have and this is just a way for them to provide an income,” says Sergeant Larry Haug, Minot Police Department.
What`s troubling though is non-profit organizations like the Minot Area Homeless Coalition that could make these donations go a long way.
"These are some real situations verses somebody who`s standing there, I`m homeless, I`ll work for food, I`m homeless I`m down on my luck . . .Ok."
The good thing is that North Dakotans are happy to help strangers, and with a little re-evaluating these types of donations, the real homeless problem in Minot could get more assistance.
The Minot Area Homeless Coalition in Minot assists individuals in need with food, emergency shelter, utilities, transportation, and many other forms of assistance.
If you’d like to make a money or food donation to the organization you can give them a call at 852-6300.