Homeless React to Panhandling Restrictions
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
"I mean you don't get no lower than when you're homeless,” said Rita Purcell, a local homeless woman. “Homeless is about as low as you can go."
In the aftermath of a new ordinance that restricts aggressive panhandlers... the city's homeless are feeling that much more hopeless.
"I think the homeless people are being singled out,” said local homeless man Michael Sperry. ”I’m not gonna sit here and say we're all angels but there are some people out there that come from different background and different educations and they can't help the scenario that they're in."
The ordinance sets out specific restrictions on where panhandling cannot be done. Some of those restrictions are people crossing the street, people in a public transportation vehicle, people waiting in line in public areas, or within twenty feet of an ATM, sidewalk café, street vendor, or public restroom.
These restrictions have some panhandlers concerned for their wellbeing.
“There's some homeless people out here that have no income that are having background problems getting jobs so they're having to do what they're doing to survive," said Sperry.
"There are honest panhandlers who are trying to better their lives with the money they make by doing that,” said Purcell. “You're talking to one of them right now. I'm one of those and that really upsets me that now I can't go out there and get that extra money to where I can get my bills paid to where I can get that housing."
If the homeless aren't able to receive enough money from panhandling, some fear they may turn to crime.
"A lot of people depend on that you know depend on that panhandling to get stuff that they need,” said Sperry. “And if they can't get it one way, they'll get it another."