Citizens feel compassion, cynicism about street begging in Merida

A Diario de Yucatan street survey reveals conflicting opinions about homelessness in Merida. Photo: Diario de Yucatan
A Diario de Yucatan street survey reveals conflicting opinions about street begging in Merida. Photo: Diario de Yucatan

Merida, Yucatan — An informal newspaper poll revealed complicated emotions about panhandling in Yucatan’s capital.

The Centro is known for its tourist and cultural attractions, but pedestrians also encounter people who beg on the streets, in church entrances or wandering in parks.

They depend on handouts from strangers to survive.

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They belong to society’s most vulnerable groups: older adults, mothers, children, the indigenous or people with disabilities.

What got them to this situation depend on many factors, although they share the same risks that come from living in the streets.

They lack employment, health services, housing, water, electricity and education. If an accident occurs, they have little recourse to recover.

Diario de Yucatán conducted a person-in-the-street survey on the topic. While unscientific and lacking numerical data, the poll revealed overall public impressions.

Several considered it a sad situation, and they pitied anyone without shelter and safety. More cynical respondents suspected that panhandling was a sort of trade or habit handed down by family members.

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But other commenters noted society’s overall indifference, which prevents the problem from receiving adequate attention.

Finally, they stressed the importance of having an approach to providing comprehensive care for the most vulnerable in Merida.

Source: Diario de Yucatan

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