LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The city of Lafayette is asking the community to stop giving money to people on the street.
Panhandling is starting to become an issue once again.
Mayor Tony Roswarski said he's not asking people to stop giving, he just wants them to consider doing it another way.
Roswarski has taken a lot of angry calls from the community regarding panhandling over last couple of weeks, and in most cases his hands are tied.
"There is a state statute if certain things are happening but one thing that is really tough for us is when people just stand some place with a sign," said Roswarski.
Lafayette police said holding a sign is not considered panhandling, therefore it's legal. According to state law panhandling is a Class C misdemeanor. However language in the statute is so specific, enforcing the law is tough.
"Simply giving individuals money is really not a long term solution to the problems they may be facing," Roswarski said. He added the goal is to get people off the streets and he needs the public's help in doing so.
"We have a lot of programs in place, everything from getting people housed, to helping with the kids in schools, to helping people find jobs," said Roswarski.
He said giving money to local programs is the safest option. Roswarski hopes if people stop helping panhandlers, they'll have no choice but to seek out other resources.
"We just need to send the message that in this community, we are generous and we want to help but we are going to make those donations to the agencies that actually provide those services," said Roswarski.
If you're interested in helping our community's homeless population, you can start by clicking on the following organizations: Lafayette Transitional Housing, Lafayette Urban Ministry, Family Promise of Greater Lafayette or Food Finders Food Bank.