by Victoria & Anniston, Age 14

Is Panhandling a Problem? Should panhandling be legal or illegal?

There are millions of people on the side of the road, streets, and elsewhere begging for money. About half of the panhandlers are homeless, the other half of them are just extremely poor. Some struggle with severe alcohol and drug addictions while some are caught in a cycle: they move from being homeless to having housing but being extremely poor.

Loads of cities allow panhandling meanwhile, other cities are more strict about it. In Cincinnati, panhandling within 50 feet of schools is considered illegal and begging is banned near ATMs, parking meters, and restaurants. In 2015, Utah banned panhandlers from soliciting in traffic. The same year, Atlanta outlawed panhandling through a downtown area.

In some places, you are required to have a license for panhandling. In other places, instead of ticketing or arresting the panhandler, they offer them temporary work with pay. In a recent survey, 94% of panhandlers use the money they get from donations to simply purchase the food they need.

There are many approaches to panhandling, but you can not physically go up to someone and beg for their money. Some examples of what you can do would be simply holding up a sign or politely asking everyone that passes your way on the streets.

One way that could help get rid of a lot of the panhandlers would be to offer them temporary work, like they are already doing now in some places. That would get the panhandlers off the streets and they could learn lots about working. This would also help them to turn their life around and buy the mandatory things they need.

Next time you walk by a panhandler, think about what you could offer. You could give food, gift cards, or your own “panhandler bags”. The bags could include water, small snacks, chapstick, and hand sanitizer. Or would you walk right by them? Imagine being in their shoes. In general, panhandling has a harmful effect on society and measures should be taken to limit it.

Look around, what do you see?

As you move from place to place where you live, you can observe social issues that help you to think about our society. It invites you to learn more about what you see by doing some research, asking questions, or making it a topic to write about. You could even send it to B! by visiting submit.

Research and Works Cited:
“Anti-Panhandling Laws Spread, Face Legal Challenges.” The Pew Charitable Trusts ,
laws-spread-face-legal-challenges .
“Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.” Center for Problem-Oriented Policing | Problem Guides
| Panhandling, .
“Facts About Panhandlers.” Stop Panhandling , .
Handly, Jim. “Should You Give Money to Panhandlers?” NBC4 Washington , NBC4
Washington, 3 Dec. 2014,
11.html .
“5 Ways to Best Help Panhandlers and the Homeless.” Marcus Brotherton | Official Site of New
York Times Bestselling Author , 19 Nov. 2015, .