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My experience walking the streets as a resident of downtown Salt Lake City is different from what Wayne Livingston described in "Sidewalk poseurs" (Forum, May 18).

In the hundreds of hours I have walked over the past nine months, I have seen people give money to a beggar maybe six times. Those with cardboard signs are not getting rich. If one could make $2,000 a week begging, the streets would have hundreds asking for money.

Livingston thinks the homeless should go to work each day.

Think about it — how do you get a job when you have no address or phone number, no decent clothing and you are missing half your teeth because you can't afford a dentist?

We need to stop condemning those who live on the streets and start finding solutions to mental illness, substance abuse and catastrophic economic problems, the sources of homelessness. The Fourth Street Clinic not only treats health issues but helps its clients to get housing.

It would be a worthy effort for The Tribune to do an in-depth article on the homeless. Give us their stories, so they become human beings and not just an annoyance we put up with.

Maude Norman

Salt Lake City

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