The 'Affluent' Beggar

This is why I drive / walk past the panhandler without even so much as a glance.

Couple supports family through panhandling

Jason Pancoast refers to himself and his family as “affluent beggars.”

“If you’re an affluent beggar you stay in a hotel and eat a continental breakfast,” he says. “It makes it a lot easier to be philosophical about it.”

The family is staying at the Cedarwood Inn in a room with a kitchenette. It costs $243 a week. Johnson and Pancoast are hoping to find something more permanent.

According to Pancoast, begging can be lucrative. He claims the family sometimes makes $300 a day asking for money and has made as much as $800. The family also receives $500 a month in food stamps.

When I was a kid I remember walking down a street in Seattle and seeing two hobos, one in a wheelchair and the other pushing him, stop at a corner. The guy in the chair had a sign that advertised himself as a Viet Nam Vet in need of food and shelter. Before the two crossed the street, the guy in the chair got up and switched places with the other. He handed the sign to his buddy, and they were on their way.

I witnessed this with complete incredulity. Then I got angry. I didn’t even think the scam was creative at all. I just remember how these guys were playing on people’s emotions.

While I don’t deny that there are homeless people who are sincere and are looking for every solution possible to improve their situation, there are a huge majority of bums on the street who love being there, for they know full well that they can have all of their needs cared for by honest, hard working folks like us, and that drives me crazy.


  1. My grandfather, who was blind, worked for PA government finding and getting educational opportunities for the handicapped. He told us never give to the guys selling pencils. He could never get one of them to take advantage of the state’s offer because they said they made too much money begging to need to go to work.

  2. jason pancoast says:

    Iam who you imagine to know thru an article printed in a not locally owned local paper.
    We are relatively affluent considering were beggars is what i said. Considering this you
    should realize that what we actually had to say
    in our interviews with the so called reporters
    was something drastically different from what
    you seem to beleive is the case.


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