An Uptick In Panhandling In Pittsfield, Is It A Problem? Take Our Poll
There is a difference between being homeless and panhandling and panhandling seems to be a rising issue here in our local area.
** After reading this please take our poll at the bottom of the page **
In an article in the Pensacola Journal Thomas F. Rebman, Guest columnist says that:
The majority of the homeless do not panhandle (research says 6 to 8% of the homeless do so). Then I tell them that even in the worst cases of drug or alcohol abuse, over 50% of the money someone collects goes to food, clothing, and other basic human needs.
Here in Mass as of January 2018, Massachusetts had an estimated 20,068 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Of that Total, 4,149 were family households, 985 were Veterans, 465 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24), and 2,122 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education during the 2016-2017 school year shows that an estimated 20,929 public school students experienced homelessness over the course of the year. Of that total, 152 students were unsheltered, 8,250 were in shelters, 2,747 were in hotels/motels, and 9,780 were doubled up.
I was looking on Facebook a few days ago and noticed that other people were noticing some of the same things I had noticed about certain individuals who are saying they are homeless but are like professional panhandlers wearing new jackets, drinking Starbucks I know of one of them who was offered a job.
More people are talking about this on Facebook too as becoming a real issue.
Yes, there is a difference in being homeless and being a panhandler, a lot of folks are getting fed up with the panhandlers, not the homeless. As you can see in the Facebook feed below people are noticing. This is just some of the posts, there were a lot more.
According to Ward 7 Councilor Tony Maffuccio. Panhandlers and sign-holders standing on the city’s medians could distract drivers, The Berkshire Eagle reports that he petitioned the city to explore an ordinance on the issue, during the City Council meeting Tuesday. Councilors voted to refer that petition to the city’s attorney.
Maffuccio also petitioned the city to do more to address homelessness, which multiple people spoke to in public comment. That petition will go to the council's Public Health and Safety Committee, to Pagnotta and to Community Development Director Deanna Ruffer.