Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, June 7, 2019 at 3:10 p.m.
Giving money to panhandlers almost always makes us feel good.
But, giving money to panhandlers can lead to substance abuse.
Handing over money at the curb can create a lot of litter.
“What we are seeing with the police department is, these folks are stepping out into the street and not only are they exposing themselves to great danger, but they are also leading to issues of frustration and road rage from the folks that are behind them,” explained Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.
Drivers and their generous donations can also end up bankrolling problems than make downtown feel unsafe and unappealing.
That’s why the City of Spokane is urging you to “Give Real Change”.
“A few dollars can go a long way when donating to service providers rather than individuals, said Mayor David Condon,”
The City of Spokane shares money collected from orange parking meters downtown, and at Spokane International, with the non-profits that provide food, shelter and support to people without homes.
“This is one of the places I used to come to sleep. It offered a little protection, a little shelter,” Rex Reishus said of a stairwell below Riverside Avenue.
Reishus, who used to be homeless here in Spokane, thinks giving money to panhandlers is a bad investment.
“Panhandling, it’s basically a Band-Aid to a gaping wound,” Reishus asserted.
Reishus, with help from the Union Gospel Mission, overcame his drug addiction and now works for the City of Spokane Water Department.
The Mayor is concerned giving money to panhandlers robs them of their dignity as well as the incentive to accept the help they need to move on with their lives.
Condon asks residents to help the City of Spokane reach one of its strategic initiatives and give a hand up to the homeless instead of a hand out, and Give Real Change.
You can make a donation to Give Real Change when paying your utility bill or by calling 311.