GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Greensboro City Council amended the panhandler ordinance in 2012 but Mayor Nancy Vaughan thinks it might be time for another change.
The Greensboro City Council amended the panhandler ordinance in 2012 but Mayor Nancy Vaughan thinks it might be time for another change.
The current ordinance regulates where panhandlers can beg for money and how they can do it.
For example, a panhandler cannot block the path of a person, follow a person after they refused to help, or lie about why they need the money.
WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower spoke to people in Downtown Greensboro who say that they've witnessed those rules being broken.
"We do get really persistent people to the point where that guy followed us down the road to come up to us again after we already said no," said Chris Ehren, Greensboro resident.
"It kind of gets annoying and makes me feel like I can't walk down the streets sometimes without people asking me for money," said Ricco Saldee, Greensboro Resident.
John Younger, a Greensboro resident, says he is approached by panhandlers, "Once or twice, maybe even three times a month, someone may come up and say hey do you have spare change? And I don't have a problem helping people everybody needs a little help."
Mayor Nancy Vaughan is not looking to criminalize panhandlers - but she is looking for a permanent solution to what she believes is a growing problem.
"That we really need to look at the root cause I think that is what we as a city have to do, and the county, and it's the county's job for mental health," said Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
Mayor Vaughan is even looking at the budget to see if there is a way the city can give more money to non-profits who might be able to help. She is still exploring that option but has asked the city attorney to see if there is anyway to make the current ordinance more restrictive.
"My proposal was that we find a way to make it a little more restrictive. I have received, and I know other council members have received numerous calls from all over the city about aggressive panhandling and that it has really become an issue," explained Vaughan.
The city's current ordinance requires panhandlers to have a permit. If a person violates these rules, they could be charged with a misdemeanor.