July 1, 2010

Panhandlers in Silver Spring

Posted in musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:36 am by silversprung

Like many commuters who walk in and out of the Silver Spring metro each day, I usually encounter people asking for money at the station. Sometimes no one is asking. Sometimes it’s several people. Regulars include the elderly white man with long hair who is usually smoking and holding a sign, and the black, middle-aged woman who is usually seated along the construction site.

I used to commute through Bethesda where the woman who lived in the tunnel was a mainstay. Some of the homeless in Bethesda would walk over to the metro from the shelter on Cordell in the mornings and others were downtown to visit the Bethesda Cares office.

So here are some questions for all you old time Silver Springers:

Have you seen the number of panhandlers increase or decrease in The Spring? Are there shelters or assisted living facilities in downtown Silver Spring? Do you know any of these metro folks’ stories? And any recommendations if readers are interested in volunteering or assisting other Silver Spring organizations?



  1. Sligo said,

    Much, much less than there used to be years ago. The old McDonald’s was pretty much panhandler central. At all times there was some hustler acting as the unofficial McDonald’s doorman.

    • JK said,

      Check out Shepherd’s Table. It is in downtown Silver Spring and provides meals, job assistance, and other resources for the Silver Spring homeless population. http://www.shepherdstable.org/. I’ve volunteered serving meals a few times.

  2. Andrea said,

    There’s also the heavyset guy (middle-aged, white) with his button down shirts and purple gym bag who asks each person that passes him for a quarter (for the metro, for the bus, to buy a drink, etc). I’ve seen him lurking in the NOAA courtyard and on the sidewalk by the construction. You can also typically see him at the Blairs Giant on Friday evenings buying groceries with what I assume he has collected from people.

  3. I 2nd Shepherd’s Table as the go-to-resource for SS citizens in need.

    There are plenty of familiar characters in downtown S – from Franklin, who sets up his begging cart at Fenton and Rt 410 many afternoons, to the guy in black robes who keeps to himseld lives by the rail tracks near Montgomery College to the short-ish guy with African accessories who never begs, but seems to wander all over the downtown.

    I don’t think there is in increase – but the weather and all of us being out more and for longer periods may increase our encounters with each other.

  4. Terry in Silver Spring said,

    There’s still that homeless camp in the forested triangle there where 16th St meets Georgia Avenue. You can see it pretty easily in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees and undergrowth. This time of year, you just get a glimpse of it.

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