In the Treasure Valley, panhandling is a regular issue. To combat this, the Nampa City Council voted unanimously on Monday to allow city police to put up to 10 anti-panhandling signs throughout the city.
While it’s not illegal to panhandle in Nampa, city council members voted to put up the signs to discourage the public from offering money to those asking for donations on the street.
Rev. Bill Roscoe runs the Boise Rescue Mission and endorsed the signs. He says that many panhandlers aren’t actually homeless.
"If they’re not homeless, they’re just raking in some extra money. If they are homeless, then they want to live the way they want to live," he says. "They don’t want to abide by anybody’s rules or policies and they want to have you pay for it."
Instead of giving money to those holding up signs, he says those dollars go further if given to local homeless organizations.
“You invest that five dollars in one of us, and we’re going to stretch that five dollars out and make it really count to help people overcome homelessness. Whereas, if you hand it to somebody on the corner, for all you know, they’re going to buy a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of booze.”
Roscoe says the Boise Rescue Mission offers a variety of programs to help the homeless in Boise, Nampa and surrounding areas. They offer services such as in-house mental health care, veteran's programs, a drug and alcohol recovery program, job search and preparedness programs, children’s services and a GED academic program.
He says the Rescue Mission has up to 500 people staying with them a night, and that those people are now given a better opportunity to overcome homelessness than money given to them on the street would have offered.
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