"There's a lot of prejudice against the homeless," Beckett says, noting that businesses dislike hiring people with no permanent address. Groundcover vendors, like the homeless population at large, also include many people with addictions and/or criminal records. But, Beckett points out, "Part of what gets conflated is panhandling and homelessness. Many of the people who panhandle are not homeless.
"I've heard it's easier to panhandle than to sell Groundcover. But there's a dignity to selling Groundcover, a feeling of working for an income, as well as [the fact] that people are buying it."
"There go my favorite lady!" says a Groundcover vendor, waving at Beckett as he arrives at another Thursday meeting. Another veteran vendor, Miriam--she asked that her last name not be used--also enters in good spirits, announcing, "I'm through smoking!"
A woman introduces a newcomer, twenty-year-old Dillon Rogers. Rogers says he's from Waterford Township and moved to Ann Arbor to get help from Dawn Farm with his alcohol problem. "There wasn't a big enough support system in Waterford," he says. He's just sold his first copy of Groundcover.