It’s easy to disregard a homeless person asking for money -- that is unless their message stops you in your tracks.
That’s the reaction Anthony Bustos hopes his nascent project will elicit from passersby in San Francisco. Bustos, who dabbles in a number of professions, has recently started handing out irreverent signs to homeless people that, at the very least, will put a smile on a person’s face, and just maybe, encourage someone walking by to make a donation, CBS San Francisco reported.
— Anthony Bustos (@dailysmirks) April 17, 2014
"At the core of this idea is a simple way to help a human being be more efficient at what they’re doing," Bustos told CBS. "My hope every time I pass out a sign is that it actually increases the person’s income."
Bustos has already distributed 15 signs so far, bearing such phrases as -- "Someone Thinks You’re Sexy" and "Law School Isn’t Cheap." He said he’s gotten mixed responses from panhandlers, and that many have been grateful for the "makeovers."
This guy's a panhandling wizard! pic.twitter.com/AxQbV5Eite
— Anthony Bustos (@dailysmirks) July 4, 2014
While Bustos’ phrases of choice are out of the ordinary, a number of activists have also helped homeless people upgrade their signs so that they can more effectively express their hardships and needs.
"Signs for the Homeless," for example -- started by Boston artists Christopher Hope and Kenji Nakayama -- invites crafty people in the area to take homeless people’s signs and make them stand out more, by adding dollops of color and creative fonts.
The project has helped panhandlers to feel more dignified and visible.
"[The biggest struggle is] being depressed," Angela Douyon-Previlon, 25, told "Signs for the Homeless." "I do not like this lifestyle. I try to stay positive because you could be depressed living in the streets."