SPOKANE, Wash.—A month long campaign to redirect money usually given to panhandlers is helping non-profits assist the local homeless community.
City leaders launched the campaign at the start of August to stop panhandlers on the roadside. On Tuesday, organizers of the Give Real Change campaign said the movement is making a difference. In the past few weeks, the program has helped get some panhandlers off of the street and working with non-profit groups according to organizers.
Former panhandlers told KREM 2 News that most of the money they collected went to feeding their addictions.
“It went to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes,” admitted Jeff Chambers who used to ask for money on the roadside.
“When you give money to a panhandler, you're actually putting someone further into the cycle of poverty, drug abuse, and mental health issues," added Rob McCann with Catholic Charities.
Groups like Catholic Charities Spokane asked that drivers give their money to non-profits instead of panhandlers. Campaign organizers are working to spread their messages from street corners to social media.