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$30K Pilot Program Aims To Deter San Antonians From Giving Directly To Panhandlers

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Panhandling is closely tied to homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness.

This kind of solicitation is a concern for area businesses and neighborhood associations, as it can make residents, tourists and drivers feel unsafe or harassed.

A few years ago, the City launched an aggressive campaign against panhandling, but it was deemed ineffective and eventually abandoned. There was also a short-lived proposal to make it illegal for anyone to give money or food to a panhandler. 

The City of San Antonio's $2.8 billion budget for FY 2019 includes $30,000 for a pilot program to address panhandling. 

District 8 City Council representative Manny Pelaez says giving to panhandlers exacerbates the associated problems, and that those in need would be better served if compassionate San Antonio residents gave to local nonprofits instead. 

How will this pilot program address issues related to begging in the streets? What is the timeline and how will the money be spent? 

Have similar prevention policies been effective in other U.S. cities? What's the best strategy for addressing San Antonio's panhandling problem? 


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