City of Dallas Considers Giving Jobs to Panhandlers

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Business owners and residents are weary of people asking for money on the street and sidewalks. Downtown resident Veronica Simmons told Fox 4 News that she feels overwhelmed by panhandlers in the area. “It was frightening and caused me to change my lifestyle. I don’t go out at night. I know where the panhandlers hang out. I avoid those areas,” she said.

Next week, the Dallas City Council will take a look at the issue of panhandling. One idea on the table comes from a plan used in Albuquerque, New Mexico where panhandlers can take on jobs with the sanitation department for $9 an hour in cash at the end of the day. It isn’t guaranteed work, but a bus comes around to pick up those who are interested four days a week, explains the Dallas Observer.

Amarillo and Chicago have taken on similar plans, and many are hoping Dallas follows. Fox 4 spoke to a panhandler who said he would happily take the opportunity to help pay for time he could spend in a shelter. Those who oppose the idea say that panhandlers won’t want the job offer since they can potentially make more on the street. “We’ve been told they make anywhere from $40-70 per hour,” Alan Sims of the Neighborhood Plus program said.

If the program moves forward, it will start in the summer of 2017.