Homeless Panhandlers must apply for a permit

December 22nd, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Hot Topics, Regulations 13 Responses

If you are homeless and you panhandle in the medians you must now go to city government to get a permit for panhandling. Permits usually require an address, so what do these folks do when an address is needed? Leave it to the dopes in City Hall to require the homeless to get a permit. And we pay these people to make these decisions? Good grief, full story here:

By Laura Graff

The Winston-Salem City Council has banned panhandling in roadway medians and voted to require people who beg anywhere else in the city to apply for a permit.

The decisions do not apply to people who sell newspapers or to charities.

Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham said the ban on median panhandling, enacted Monday night by the council, is about safety and about quality of life for Winston-Salem drivers.

“People should not be in the roadway,” Cunningham said in an e-mail message. The council’s vote changed an existing city law that governed begging. Those changes, Cunningham said, were meant “to ensure that anyone that is panhandling does so safely and that the public can be relatively safe from being accosted by persons with criminal backgrounds.”

Sonjia Kurosky, executive director at Samaritan Ministries, which operates a soup kitchen and shelter for men at 1243 N. Patterson Ave., applauded the decision.

“Poverty is a tough question,” Kurosky said. “But I think the answers are not to just give strangers money.”

Panhandlers, Kurosky said, sometimes have unaddressed mental-health problems. She said some panhandlers use cash to buy alcohol or drugs.

“I would much rather see people go buy us some of those big No. 10 cans (of vegetables or fruit) and bring them to Samaritan than give money to those folks who are standing out there,” Kurosky said. “I wish they would ban panhandling altogether.”

But the homeless who beg in Winston-Salem’s roadways say the ban will increase crime and is an unnecessary move against a population that is already struggling.

On Tuesday afternoon, four homeless men and one homeless woman stood along Hanes Mall Boulevard, hoping for cash.

One of the men, Lewis Sanders, stood in the median near Home Depot and held a piece of cardboard printed in handwritten block letters:

“Homeless,” the sign read. “Anything helps. Thank you. God bless.”

A few of Sanders’ friends, also homeless, stood on a nearby median holding similar cardboard signs. Some drivers stopped and offered cash. One driver handed over a plastic bag containing toothpaste, socks and crackers.

Sanders and his friends call this type of begging “flying.” They work together, picking different areas of the city. At dusk, they meet and pool their resources. On Tuesday, when forecasters predicted temperatures would drop to 36 degrees, Sanders and his friends hoped to collect enough to pay for a hotel room.

Across Stratford Road, Howard Randolph stood holding his own cardboard sign. The hood on his thick canvas coat was pulled tight around his face.

A Ford pickup truck drove past Randolph, then a PT Cruiser, then a BMW. A man and a woman in a minivan pulled up. The woman rolled down her window and handed Randolph a paper bag and a $1 bill. The bag contained a bottle of water, some crackers and canned meat. A piece of blue paper, cut in the shape of a heart, was stuck to the outside: “God loves you and we do too.”

Randolph said he typically sleeps outside, in a tent in the woods. Sometimes, if he collects enough money, he gets a hotel room.

“I don’t mess with abandoned buildings,” Randolph said, shaking his head. “You get 120 days for that.”

Randolph has been homeless for years. His last listed address is the Bethesda Center for the Homeless on Patterson Avenue.

Panhandling on the streets, he said, gives him an income. He is upset that city leaders chose to tighten restrictions on panhandling in December.

“We’re getting hassled in the winter?” he said. “Unbelievable.”

City Attorney Angela Carmon said in an e-mail message that the city will likely delay enforcing the changes. City police and city revenue collectors, she said, need training before the changes can be enforced. That training will take at least 30 days.

Privilege licenses will be issued by the city revenue department; anyone convicted of two or more crimes involving assault, threats or illegally using a weapon would be denied a permit.

Greensboro has a similar law and charges $35 for a permit.

Winston-Salem permits are free, Carmon said.

Linda Price, who said she has been homeless “just a few months,” said she was not surprised by the city’s action.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” she said.

Read it on the Journal website

Some Comments:

  1. Posted by justlookin on Dec. 22, 2010 – 12:19 p.m.

    charity: (char*i*ty) – 1. generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless. 2. something given to a person or persons in need; alms.

    So to clarify the council’s decision… charity is forbidden in the streets, but charity is not.

  2. +1-0CLEAR
    Posted by tarheelns on Dec. 22, 2010 – 11:26 a.m.

    Thank Goodness! These folks and the ones begging for charities are a royal pain in the posterior. Add in the fact that a majority of them are ripping everyone off. Has the city ever considered that by letting them beg, even with a free permit, that Winston-Salem is breaking the law? Yes – because they are making $$$$ tax free and that is a federal offense. Get the charities off the medians as well.

  3. +0-0CLEAR
    Posted by Dimitri945 on Dec. 22, 2010 – 10:53 a.m.

    “The decisions do not apply to people who sell newspapers or to charities.”

    This law will be challenged and overturned for this reason.

    The government cannot play favorites regarding which businesses and citizens may exercise their First Amendment rights. Why newspapers and not other businesses? Why charities and not a charitable donation to someone who claims to be homeless?

    It must be all or nothing.

  4. +4-0CLEAR
    Posted by citizenwane on Dec. 22, 2010 – 10:49 a.m.

    I’m glad they passed this ordinance, but there’s a disconnect in this story…

    The police chief says that people shouldn’t be in the roadways, yet this new ordinance applies only to the homeless panhandlers…it doesn’t apply to charity and newspaper beggars.

    If people shouldn’t be in the roadway, then people shouldn’t be in the roadway, be it the homeless, the newspaper hawkers, the charity beggars or the high school car wash beggars…

    The charity beggars are more bold and in your face than the homeless…they walk around in traffic shaking their buckets and trying to entice you with candy to roll down your window.

    Ban all beggars from working the street corners and intersections.

  5. +0-0CLEAR
    Posted by FlamingoGirl on Dec. 22, 2010 – 12:33 p.m.

    I’ve long wondered when begging on the streets became an acceptable form of “fundraising,” especially for student organizations. That just teaches children that the best way to get money is to beg for it, not work and earn it (like those of us who are expected to contribute to them). If it’s not safe for the homeless, then it surely isn’t safe for students/children. And some of the newspaper vendors are very aggressive. There’s one man at the 5 Points intersection who walks among the cars and comes right up to drivers’ windows, which probably makes many people uncomfortable.

  6. +1-0CLEAR
    Posted by nightingale on Dec. 22, 2010 – 11:44 a.m.

    “Charity” beggers are very aggressive, and they do come out in the traffic, posing a safety concern. I question their “charity”. As for those selling newspapers, they should also be banned. I saw one “working” three lanes of traffic at the Silas Creek/Peters Creek intersection, dodging between moving cars.

    Council needs to rethink and ban them all.

  7. +1-0CLEAR
    Posted by missellieg on Dec. 22, 2010 – 10:33 a.m.

    I agree with some of the other posters here that no one should be allowed in the medians, it is dangerous. The only exception to that rule might be the guys selling newspapers, they are providing a legitimate service and I have never seen one of these guys intoxicated or acting unruly.

    I am concerned that the panhandlers will just move into the parking lots around the intersections, Sam’s, Lowes Hardware, Home Depot, etc. I am sure that the major businesses have rules against panhandling but the smaller businesses might have trouble with this. Just for instance, say a guy can’t stand at the intersection of Hanes Mall Blvd and Silas Creek any more, what is to keep him from panhandling in the parking lot at Silas Creek Crossing.

    I have been approached in a Lowes Foods parking lot, in the Harris Teeter parking lot at Miller Street and in a Wachovia Bank parking lot, just in the last month. Won’t this get worse?

    I just wanted to add, I don’t pretend to have the answers about how to help out the homeless, but I tend to agree that handing out cash is not the answer. I would think that donating blankets, food, clothing, even a key to a hotel room for one night, to a Homeless Shelter has got to be more helpful to those people who are truly homeless.

  1. Bruce says:

    To those that are so quick to judge, you have no idea of the circumstances surrounding any of the homeless and people panhandling/flying a sign. You say get a job, but wat if a person had everything they owned stolen including their ID, social security card and birth certificate or waiting on disability approval? Well all of that applies to me and I am faced with the dilemma of holding a sign and panhandling to be able to eat and make it day to day. Not all homeless people are seeking to get high or drunk but the ones that are, im sure they became addicts due to depression from having insensitive judgemental greedy upper class smug like you. We live an extremely hard life but wake up daily, thankful for wat we have when you are at home complaining about how things dnt work out like u want. If u lived like we do for a week, u wouldn’t last a day. Probably 80% of u smug douches would commit suicide. Especially when u find out no one cares about you and how degrading it feels to panhandle or fly a sign. Not to mention the looks and comments u get from ppl that are so quick to judge, giving there opinions when u have no idea how or why this happened to a person in need. If you can take ur time to pass judgement and give rude comments, u could take that time to help solve this problem instead of degrading someone who is already crushed inside from having to swallow their pride and stand for hours asking for help. Ur comments are crass, unhelpful, and only make someone who is already at a low point, hurt even more. The thing is, in the Bible, it says theres a better chance of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man entering the gates of heaven. The Lord favors the poor man more than he does one that is rich because we appreciate life, and his love when we have nothing. Those of you who have everything dnt know the Lord because u live for pleasures of the flesh like materialistic things and dnt help anyone in need. Thats called greed. Us homeless people, help other homeless people when we can because we know wat its like. You will find out what the Lord thinks of you on judgement day. So keep up your hurtful, greedy, and deceitful ways. As the Lord giveth, the Lord shall taketh away! Wat if the tables turned tonight? Wat would u do then? One day, u will get a taste of the crap you feed to people that are “less” than you!

  2. Joel Cauley says:

    Noth Carolina General Statute 20-175 prohibits anyone from standing near state roads, thi is a law that needs to be revisited and revised. I have no problem with someone panhandling as long as they don’t impede traffic or cause a dangerous situation. A store parking lot would be better but the property owner may not approve, leaving state owned roads as the only option. State government is still We the people, We including people down on heir luck, doing the best they can.

  3. beth says:

    what is the homless suppose to do for money people don’t want them begging for money people don’t want to give them jobs government programs are useless churches are to lazy to help what are the homless suppose to do for money then jerkoffs

  4. beth says:

    misslieg you want to give them one at a motel what the heck where are they suppose to sleep the other nights one night at a motel is not much your a douch ball you should not even be talking

  5. beth says:

    misslieg your a douch ball you don’tnow how to help the homeless but then say they shouldn’t beg for money wil then you should shit the hell up if you don’t now to help the homless don’t say what the homless is doing is wrong at least they are trying to fix the problem your not at least they have an answer to the problem unlike you douch ball

  6. beth says:

    people don’t give a crap if your struggling that’s how it is and that’s what you have to get use to people are mean and uncaring

  7. beth says:

    you dipshit jerkoff people you say just go get a job will if only it was that easy you don’t want to give the homnless a job or ways of making money and then get mad because they panhandle you give them no choice you jerk offs, government progroms are useless and churches are to lazy to help what is a person suppose to do for money dipshit people

  8. Shirley says:

    We are 66 yrs old and about to be thrown out of a home we thought we were renting to own for 3 1/2 yrs. We have no where to go but in our van. We will need to panhandle to get gas money and hopefully rent a room now and again for a bath. We have our belongings in storage.

  9. chris bailey says:

    i think its a good idea, im tired of stopping at stoplights to be bothered by people wanting money….half of them have better shoes and clothes on than i do….i wonder how many of the panhandlers in the medians are homeless?

    • Lee Masten says:

      Not every one panhandling is a alcoholic or drug abusure. Some, like me just found themselfs with no funds to buy transportation. Even working full time at SubWay for two years I was unable to cover regular expenses let alone maintance on a vehicle. I was let go after 2 years with no excuse. I collected unemployement. I have looke for jobs. With out transportaion it is near impossible to find a job. I also, don’t have any family except for a son that needs my help. Crisis Control will not help me with my utilities because I have no proof of income. Salvation Army has no money to help a lot of times. Churches are out of funds. Please tell me how a person is suppose to help themselves when there is no way to? I have looked for jobs on-line and got scammed myself. No one locally wants to hire me. I’ve been told I’m to old. I havn’t bought any cloths since 2008. I cain’t fix my broken front tooth. I do not qaulify for medicaide or disability due to no doctor trail. Does no one care enough to try to positively solve the problem of poverty?

  10. eileen k says:

    It was so wonderful for a couple days there when all panhandlers were off the streets ! Driving was back to being a pleasure without the added stress brought on by their begging.

  11. RG says:

    I do agree that the homeless should not panhandle near busy intersections. It is barely safe to drive on Hanes Mall Blvd much less walk or stand. I also agree that giving money to them is not the answer. That money will go to a bottle of wine it most cases and those that are honest and try to save it will just end up robbed once it is found that they have cash. Food, water, clothing and blankets are what they need. While some are in their postition of their own making others really were once productive citizens and regardless all are our fellow human beings. What I really don’t understand is how can we be two years into the Obama Administration and still have homeless in America? Wasn’t that supposed to change instantly?…..

    • Lee Masten says:

      I have been panhandling for a year now and each time I panhandled I saved 20% of what I took in. I just bought a truck for $850 and my insurance is $30 a month. I have been looking for a job very sereiously for the past two weeks since I got the truck legalized. The library gratefully supplies computers and the internet to help peoples job searches. No luck so far. Now I’m out of gas and I need tires to continue my job search. What’s a 56 year old lady suppose to do? I have met some very wonderful people While panhandling who gave me hope where there was none. It is not my intention to ruin anyone’s peace of mind, but I will do anything leagal to try to get back on my feet.