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A Better Way to Handle Panhandling

Don’t give money to panhandlers. That was the message at Monday night’s Auburn city council meeting as Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn presented a video featuring community non-profits who work directly with the homeless to illustrate the abundance of food, shelter and services provided to anyone in need. The Chief provided statistics of the impacts panhandling has on our police force.

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The Chief asked the council for $2500 for educational materials in the form of business size cards that can be handed out to residents that feel the need to help by giving something directly to panhandlers. These cards would have information about our non-profits and the services they provide. This way the generous members of the Auburn community can still help by giving information instead of money to those who may not be buying food at all but buying drugs or alcohol with the money they are so generously given.

The Chief also requested training for his officers to understand how our non-profits can help those in need. The Chief says the message is simple.

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Councilmen Nesbitt wanted to ensure that the difference between homeless and panhandling was clear. Not all homeless are panhandlers and not all panhandlers are homeless. The council approved the expenditure unanimously.

John Ruffcorn

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