“If you give cash out on the street, generally about 93 percent of it goes to alcohol, drugs and prostitution.”
I almost feel like the assertion that you can make enough income panhandling to be able to spend 13 times as much on recreation as you do on food debunks itself.
But someone did look into it.
I consulted with 6 of America's foremost institutions and experts in the field of homelessness. None of them knew of any data that would substantiate that 93% claim. I could only find one survey, conducted recently in San Francisco. It asked 146 panhandlers what they spent their money on. 94% said they used some of the money for food, while only 44% said they used some of the money for alcohol or drugs (undoubtedly a much smaller figure than among housed people). That's 44% who spent even a nickel on alcohol or drugs, not 93% of their money.
After finding no published evidence to support Marbut's figures, I interviewed Marbut himself. He acknowledged that his 93% figure was not based on anything he had read. Instead, he said, he came up with that figure through his own research....