City has seen an increase in panhandling
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2017) — Public service announcements will soon be airing in the Lexington market encouraging citizens to give to programs that assist panhandlers, rather than giving them cash.
“Thanks to our local radio and television stations for their support of our community’s work to give panhandlers a hand up through www.Lexgive.com, instead of a hand out,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “These public service announcements are designed to educate our community about the dangers of giving change to panhandlers.”
Other ways the city is addressing an increase in panhandling:
- The “End Panhandling Now” van began offering day jobs to panhandlers in May. In its first month, 32 people worked through the van program. The van is operated by the New Life Day Center.
- Signs discouraging cash gifts to panhandlers will start going up at intersections at the end of this month. Cash handouts can support dangerous addictions to alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Informational postcards have been developed and are being distributed throughout the community. (Send request for postcards to Polly Ruddick at [email protected]).
- The Office of Homelessness Intervention and Prevention is working with Commerce Lexingotn, the hospitality industry and the faith community, asking for ideas and support of initiatives concerning those who are homeless, and panhandlers.
- www.Lexgive.com was established, and so far has collected $785 in donations that will be used to support the van program.
- The Urban County Council passed a new pedestrian safety ordinance, which prohibits pedestrians from entering major roadways, other than to cross the busy streets at crosswalks or intersections.
- Lexington police have increased their presence in areas where the city has experienced increased panhandling. Citizens are urged to report illegal, threatening conduct to police.
“Though these initiatives we can help everyone understand that no one has to beg for food or shelter in Lexington,” Gray said. “Our city invests almost $6 million a year in programs that help people experiencing homelessness or those living in extreme poverty. We provide shelter, housing and food.”