Controversial panhandler pamphlet causes stir


The Downtown Mobile Alliance has been handing out a pamphlet that compares giving money to the homeless to assisting someone in their suicide.

A local ministry, Ransom Ministries, works with the homeless population in Mobile.

Matt Armbruster of Ransom agrees that people should not give cash to homeless without getting to know the individuals first. He says handouts can hurt more than help, but the wording of this message displayed on the pamphlet is a little harsh.

"I think they used the first part just to shock people because it worked, people are talking about it. But to me, you can't put everybody in a box. you can't put everyone in this thing that they're out there to buy drugs and alcohol."

The Downtown Mobile Alliance is defending the message of the handout.

The Alliance released a statement:

"The message of the panhandling brochure is admittedly a difficult one. It was developed after a couple years of intensive work by a task force that included representatives of the agencies providing services to the homeless, faith leaders, law enforcement, social services and downtown stakeholders."

They say their intent is to encourage locals to donate to agencies serving the homeless instead of just handing out money on the streets.