(INDIANAPOLIS) - These are hard times for everyone, but imagine what it must be like to be living on the streets and depending on handouts for your next meal, a place to spend the night, to feed and clothe your children.
Official counts indicate the number of homeless in Indiana has actually declined slightly in recent years. But even those who take that census question their ability to reach every homeless person.
Experts and the homeless themselves say it appears there's been an increase in the number of panhandlers on the streets of Indianapolis and other cities.
Tim Joyce, Executive Director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention of Greater Indianapolis, says the coalition seeks relief for all the homeless, but Joyce advises against dropping your money in a panhandler's cup.
He discounts the stereotype depicting the homeless as shiftless drunkards, but he says for some it is accurate to assume that they might spend your charity on "self destructive behaviors."
Joyce urges instead that you give your money to homeless shelters and other service providers, many of whom are struggling to meet demand with charity slipping because of a sluggish economy.
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