On April 3, 2017, the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) convened a community meeting to discuss the subject of “panhandling” in Pacific Palisades. Meeting participants discussed the pros and cons of giving to people who solicit money on the street and came to conclusions about the practice. Based upon this community input, PPTFH developed the following panhandling guidelines. (NOTE: Panhandling is defined as people asking for money on the streets. Requesting or receiving food, clothing, water or assistance is not considered panhandling.)
“REAL CHANGE, NOT SPARE CHANGE”
Be kind and respectful to panhandlers.
When choosing to engage with a panhandler, carefully assess the situation to ensure your own safety.
When confronted with the feelings, uncertainties and discomfort associated with being asked for money, focus on the ways you, through PPTFH or other organizations, can contribute in a way that provides real change for homeless individuals rather than giving spare change.
Give time and thought to helping children understand the difference between panhandling and homelessness, spare change and real change. For example, model compassion for children by joining them in activities such as serving food at homeless shelters or collecting clothing or raising money for credible service organizations that help homeless people. Encourage children to contribute a portion of their allowance to a homeless prevention project, or participate in support of an affordable housing project.