It can depend on the charity of others, whether or not the homeless have anything to survive on. KLFY cameraman, Lance Darbonne transformed with some old clothes, make-up and a sign headed out with News 10's Hope Ford to answer the how and how much.
We see it throughout Acadiana, homeless men panhandling or as they call it, flying signs, asking for money from the community to pay for their next meal, clothes or even shelter.
So the question is could our transformed cameraman make enough to get through a few days or would he make anything at all?
“A lot of people would stop before they got to me just so they could avoid me,” says Lance.
According to a Lafayette City-Parish ordinance, begging or soliciting money is illegal.
You cannot intentionally make physical contact, approach or even block someone or ask for goods or money in an open area used by the general public
But the rule that caught our attention.
“By the letter of the law it is illegal to stand on the side of the highway and ask for money or jobs or any one those.” says Kip Judice who is with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.
But often this is exactly what happens.
“I think you may see instances where officers don't necessarily enforce it because its not if you choose to stop and give someone a dollar, then what harm is that causing anyone else? .” says Judice.
Our team set up just off of University Avenue, with our camera placed in an unmarked vehicle.
For 45 minutes, our cameraman stood with his sign, made no uninvited approach to vehicles or any gestures for attention.
“I ended up with a dollar and a cheeseburger.” says Lance.
The response of drivers?
“A lot of people avoid making eye contact with me, a lot of people would look away like they were busy.” says Lance.
Our team decided to head to another, more notorious area. The intersection of I-10 and Ambassador Caffery.
“Right off the bat people were hanging their arms out the window.” says Lance.
Lance walked away with $48 and food in less than 30 minutes.
“Honestly I would say the time of day, you know its lunchtime and you know the homeless are less fortunate, you know so maybe people think they should help out and get them some lunch as well. Right here people were forced to stop and look at me, rather than at the other location people would stop far back” says Lance.