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Hampton launches campaign to curb panhandling

September 10, 2019


(CHRIS) THE CITY OF HAMPTON WANTS TO CURB PANHANDLING. INSTEAD OF OFFERING MONEY TO A SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL IN NEED — THE CITY WANTS TO DIRECT THOSE FUNDS TO SERVICES THAT REACH A MUCH LARGER HOMELESS POPULATION. 10 ON YOUR SIDE’S ERIN KELLY IS HERE TO TELL US HOW. (ERIN) THE CITY WILL BE PUTTING UP SIGNS THROUGHOUT THE CITY. (ERIN) THEY WANT THE SIGNS TO MAKE WOULD-BE DONORS RECONSIDER GIVING TO PANHANDLERS AND TO DIRECT THOSE IN NEED TO THE RIGHT PLACE. (ERIN KELLY) JAMIE HIMES STANDS ON A STREET CORNER ALONG COLISEUM DRIVE IN HAMPTON, ASKING FOR HELP. HE SAYS HE RECENTLY GOT OUT OF JAIL AND NO ONE WILL HIRE HIM BECAUSE HE’S A FELON. – (JAMIE HIMES – HAMPTON) I WAS PANHANDLING AT THE TIME, SO I GOT ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER, HERE PANHANDLING?”) “YEAH.” THE CITY OF HAMPTON HAS LAUNCHED A NEW CAMPAIGN TO DISCOURAGE PEOPLE FROM GIVING DIRECTLY TO PANHANDLERS. CREWS WILL BE PUTTING UP THESE SIGNS AT BUSY INTERSECTIONS, INCLUDING ALONG COLISEUM DRIVE, DIRECTING THOSE WHO NEED HELP AND THOSE WHO WANT TO HELP — TO OTHER RESOURCES. (ROBIN MCCORMICK – CITY OF HAMPTON) “ONE, MAKE PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT TO GIVE THEIR MONEY IN THIS WAY, BUT ALSO, MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE CITY IS DOING OUTREACH TO HOMELESS AND HAS A PROGRAM TO ACTUALLY SUPPORT THE HOMELESS AND THEN FINALLY, IF PEOPLE ARE NEEDING SERVICES, THERE’S A NUMBER THEY CAN CALL. IT’S A HOTLINE.” HIMES SAYS ON MONDAY HE BROUGHT IN MORE THAN FIFTY DOLLARS. WE ASKED HIM WHAT HE THOUGHT ABOUT THE CITY’S PLAN. (JAMIE HIMES – HAMPTON) “I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY WOULD HELP. I MEAN, BECAUSE THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I DID HAVE A GOOD AMOUNT OF MONEY AND IF I’D SEEN SOMEBODY PANHANDLING, I’D GIVE THEM SOME MONEY.” (ROBIN MCCORMICK – CITY OF HAMPTON) “I THINK THAT SUPPORTING PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED IS A WONDERFUL THING FOR FOLKS TO DO. IT IS ALTRUISTIC, IT IS HELPFUL TO SOCIETY, BUT JUST MAYBE STOP AND THINK ABOUT WHERE THAT MONEY GOES AND WHAT IT IS USED FOR AND HOW MAYBE YOU COULD BE MORE EFFECTIVE WITH YOUR DONATIONS TO A NON-PROFIT.” (ERIN) PANHANDLING IS CONSIDERED A FIRST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH ACTIVITY. ACCORDING TO THE CITY, MORE THAN A DOZEN BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE SIGNED FORMS ALLOWING POLICE TO BAN PANHANDLERS FROM THE PROPERTY IF THE PRACTICE GOES AGAINST THE RULES OF THE BUSINESS.

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