I knew it! Those UHO jugs and hawkers begging for your donations is a scam! If you work or visit NYC, you will often see these people standing on street corners next to a large table with a banner for the United Homeless Organization (or UHO), collecting donations in large water jugs. Supposedly, all donations were going to the homeless. I’ve seen them since I started working in the city back in 1999, but UHO has apparently been around since 1985.
IT’S A SCAM!
Just in time for the holidays, state authorities are going for the jug-ular — seeking to banish forever the panhandling pests who clog Manhattan’s busiest corners with folding tables and plastic water bottles.
State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed suit yesterday, charging the United Homeless Organization is a scam run by con artists who pocket most of the change they collect — hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
The beggars — most of whom claim to be street people — say that the money tossed into their jugs goes to the homeless. And it does, the suit says. They just don’t bother to say they’re talking about themselves.
The whole sham is run by these two individuals who collect a cover charge or rental fee for the material. It doesn’t go to help the homeless, except the actual person who is renting the table, banner, and water jug. This stuff makes me so mad. I read this, and my jaw dropped. I suspected, much like I’m suspicious of anyone panhandling, yet I still couldn’t believe I was right.
For you long-time readers, you may remember my incident back in August 2003 (see the August 25 2003 entry) when a scam artist tried to scam me twice in the same month, at both Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, in less than two weeks. Well, scammed me the first time at Penn and got $5 out of the goodness of my heart. Suffice it to say, I was shocked to see the same guy trying the same scam on me a week later. What are the odds?
I do not give out any money to people on the street. They are scam artists, and are not going to use it for food. They are going to use it for booze or drugs. That’s right. I said it. That’s what I believe. I will continue to donate to regular charities, but never again in my life will I give a handout.