Website focusing on homeless brings about mixed reactions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Website focusing on homeless brings about mixed reactions

From his suburban home office, Wayne Andrews leads a rather unorthodox crusade to fight homelessness and panhandling in Memphis.

Andrews says, "This is coming out of frustration.  And it really got to the point that I could put it in a website and put attention on the issue or I could keep giving a dollar at a time every time I go downtown for a meeting."

Andrews founded Street-People-dot-com.  His goal is call out scam artists, and call attention to the issue through humor and sarcasm.
    
The website features cynical-toned bios of some of the Mid-South's most infamous panhandlers.  It even sells T-Shirts like this one which reads "Will Work for Beer"

Andrews continues, "Do I think this is a nice cherry way to paint it? No.  It's not a nice cherry issue and we're trying to put a spotlight on it."

A spotlight on what Andrews says is a need for new strategies, but Advocates for the homeless call the website's tactics troubling.

Pat Morgan with Partners for the Homeless says, "I thought it was appalling.  It was painting all homeless people with the same brush.  It just left all the wrong impression."
    
Impressions that all homeless are panhandlers and scam artists.

Morgan continues, "I think it reinforces negative opinions and it ticks off people like me."

But Andrews says it that's what it takes to get people talking then it's worth it.

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