Panhandlers are putting down their hands and picking up other ways to find income, according to new research done in the city.
In a study by the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), the economic downturn has had the city’s homeless often opting for bottle picking over panhandling.
“There seems to be this culture where most prefer working to begging,” said Tim Richter, president and CEO of CHF.
The study took place from May to August 2010 and found about 30 active panhandlers and 250 bottle pickers in the city.
The results of the study found bottle pickers make about an average of $25 to $40 a day, or about $3.50 to $5.75 per hour versus an average panhandler, who makes about $20 a day, or $80 during special events.
One downtown panhandler said the increase in bottle picking has to do with the panhandling bylaw.
“You have to be vary wary of where you are,” said Aaron T.
Aaron said he can make up to $170 a day if he worked at it the whole day.
“You have to have the charm, smile and look appropriate,” said Aaron.
The CHF study will be used to move forward with Calgary’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.