Beggars are a result of a failure of some kind, whether it be a failure on the part of the individual or a failure due to society. There are many reasons why people become beggars. They may have been forced out into the street and have no other choice. Perhaps they have psychological issues and can't help it. Whatever the reason, there are numerous shelters that people like this can go for help.
I am surprised by the amount of fear associated with the homeless in this thread. Any one of us has the potential (especially in this economic climate) to end up homeless. I think we all have a responsibility as human beings to show compassion to others, especially toward those in need.
As far as the amount of homeless fluctuating by season goes, I live in a major city, and the quantity of homeless people seems consistent to me. In your area a fluctuation may be caused by the amount of support from local charities, or the highs and lows of personal mental illness. Regardless, any homelessness should not be seen as a nuisance, it should be seen as a reminder of what we are not doing right as a society.
I can't say they are a nuisance because they are doing what they feel they need to do. You can make the active decision to walk past them and ignore them, or give them some change. It is just like a street vendor or performer - ignore, or engage - up to you. There are a lot of them in the downtown areas of lager cities, but that is where more people are so they can get more money to survive. A lot of homeless people are mentally ill and don't understand beyond the need of money to survive. Some beggars are everyday people looking for a quick, tax-free buck. A beggar will generally ask you for spare change, but they don't chase you down and demand money or food. I just see it as someone asking you if you have the time. You can either keep walking as if you didn't hear him/her ask, lie and say you don't have a watch, or tell them the time.
Yes I agree with #2, it is a result of failure. When our homeless rate goes up in our country it should be a reflection of our government, and the blame should be on the lack of social programs to help these individuals. We need better education with more support for the lower income areas, since those areas tend to have more of a higher drop out rate. Also we need to focus on creating more jobs for all types of education levels, not everyone is going to go to college and get a four year degree, and many of my friends are still having a tough time getting jobs even after getting a degree. We need to have better social programs like the welfare system that doesnt enable people to take advantage of it, but to work for it and improve their life skills.
Rather than being a nuisance on society, beggars are a result of a failure in the structure of our society. Poverty is a direct result of a lack of education. America has a poorly funded education system. Given the challenges of competing in a global job market with a poorly funded education system, it is not surprising that some people do end up begging. Another reason for the existence of beggars is a stigma about mental illness. Many people on the street suffer from mental illness that is not always covered by insurance, or that they (especially if they are ex-military) will not get treatment for because of the social stigma. Beggars are not a nuisance in our society, but rather a reminder of our own failures.
yes they are a nuisance in our society.
In today's economy, how can the argument "poverty is a direct result of education" hold water? I would guess there are some highly educated individuals begging for resources. In addition, there are many educational institutions that are literally giving away money to go to vocational school. Have people become snobby about the type of job they will take? How do we explain the increased number of beggars during the holiday season? Where are they in the summer?