LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Signs recently placed around Lafayette urging drivers to not give money to panhandlers have drawn both support and criticism.
KLFY has received multiple calls about those anti pan-handling signs.
Afterwards, we reached out to the Mayor-President’s office.
Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle said the signs are not an anti-homeless message, rather an effort to discourage drivers from giving money to panhandlers on busy street corners.
Angelle, citing safety concerns, explains why the signs were installed.
“First of all, we don’t want distracted drivers and also there are so many better ways to help people who are really in need.”
The first half of the sign addresses drivers: “”Panhandling is not safe. Change the way you give.”
The second half addresses those who need assistance offering a phone number — Call 211 to help—
While panhandling is not illegal, Angelle says, some panhandlers are taking advantage of the people in Acadiana.
“We live in a generous community and people who are not even from this area are coming here to take advantage of our generosity.”
Angelle also said that giving to some panhandlers also largely contributes to substance abuse.
“We are feeding their habits,” he said.
He said millions of dollars come to LCG every year that get channeled to resources that help the homeless.
” I would ask that people who want to help, that they do so with organizations who can directly help those in need.”
The Lafayette city and parish councils opted, last year, to defer a measure proposed by Mayor President Josh Guillory that would have made it illegal for anyone to “sit or stand for any period of time” within 3 feet of a roadway or on any unpaved median, with exceptions for bus stops.
One person in favor of the signs said, “They are mainly where the panhandling was getting out of hand. There will be more! I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS!!”
“I hate those signs. Direct aid is extremely useful. The government has made it clear they are not committed to ending issues that lead to homelessness and are now trying to get people to donate to charities…NO!! It’s such BS! Charities have so many rules of who and how they help, that so many folk STILL fall through the cracks,” said another person opposed to the signs.