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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.