Health & Human Services

Saying 'No' to Panhandlers

Boise is the latest city to educate residents about homelessness and encourage them to donate to local charities instead of panhandlers.
by | August 5, 2010

The City of Boise is encouraging its residents to politely say "no" to panhandlers. It's not that Boise officials -- or other city officials who have made similar requests -- don't have a heart. They would rather residents give to local charities that assist homeless populations instead. Boise is currently implementing a public education campaign, called Have a Heart - Give Smart, to educate residents on the facts of homelessness and how they can effectively help homeless people. Many people may think that panhandlers and homeless people are the same, but often times they are not. A U.S. Department of Justice report claims that most panhandlers are not homeless and most homeless people do not panhandle. To help divert potential donations, campaign posters and brochures provide information on local charities assisting homeless people. In addition, the city is also conducting a 10-year plan to reduce chronic homelessness by providing housing and services. Have a Heart - Give Smart first started in Seattle in 2007, and has been implemented in the Canadian cities of Edmonton and Ottawa.

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