Panhandlers: What You Need To Know

What to Know About Panhandlers

We've all been there before.  Walking down the street, stopped at a red light, when someone holding a sign asks you for money.

"It's a very personal decision," explains Michelle Kennedy.

Kennedy is the Executive Director at the Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro.  She says there's a lot of reasons people could be panhandling.

"There is no way to know what's happening for each individual that you see on the street."

She says the biggest misconceptions are that all panhandlers are homeless or that they'll be aggressive.  That's not always the case.

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"Take it on a case by case basis and think about people as individuals, not paint everyone who's panhandling with such a broad brush," Kennedy explains.

In Greensboro and other Triad Cities like Winston-Salem, you have to get a permit to panhandle and there are rules you have to abide by.  Kennedy also adds that not everyone goes through this process and that there can be barriers to getting that license.

That all being said, you don't have to give panhandlers your money.  So if you're skeptical, there are other ways you could choose to help.  You can offer food, water, clothing, sanitary items, etc.  Or you could donate money to an agency like the IRC that helps the community.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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