The Tri-Cities is a generous community, but when it comes to panhandling, we think Kennewick’s effort to discourage roadside begging is spot on.
Last week city workers posted 23 signs in 17 busy locations telling people not to give money directly to panhandlers and instead “contribute to the solution” by giving money to charities.
It would be great if this experiment reduces the number of panhandlers at city intersections. If it also boosts donations to organizations that help the homeless and hungry, then it’s even better.
While the Tri-Cities does not have the homeless problems facing bigger cities like Seattle and Portland, panhandling has become more prevalent in certain areas – especially during these summer months.
People holding signs on street corners looking for handouts pose a moral dilemma.
Their sad plight pulls on our hearts and we want to help them. But then we have to ask ourselves: Will they use the money to feed an addiction instead of their bellies? Are they really poor or are they pulling a scam?
There is no way to know for sure.