With summer here, there may be more panhandlers on Vernon streets.
The city reminds people they can use the orange-coloured kindness meters — instead of giving change to panhandlers.
City spokesperson Tanya Laing Gahr says there may be more people seeking money.
“I don’t think I would qualify it as a problem, but it is something that during the summer months we do tend to be a bit more aware of it. The warm weather brings everybody outdoors, and that includes people who asking for spare change,” Laing Gahr tells Kiss FM.
Pictured: Kindness meter in downtown Vernon
Money donated to the meters is distributed to local agencies that help the less fortunate.
About $2,427 has been donated since the meters went in a year ago.
“People who panhandle have a right to ask for money, That is one of their protected human rights. But we can actually do more by providing money to the services that provide outreach, rather than giving money directly to people who are panhandling,” adds Laing Gahr.
Protective Services Manager Clint Kanester says panhandling to vehicles on a roadway is prohibited due to traffic safety concerns.
“While panhandling on public areas such as City-owned sidewalks is allowable, there are restrictions around panhandling at certain locations (such as near banks, bus stops or liquor stores), continuing to panhandle to an individual after that person has said or indicated no, panhandling after dark, panhandling from seated position on a sidewalk or aggressively panhandling, such as following, touching and/or continued requests for money.”
Kanester passes on tips for citizens who encounter a panhandler.
“Briefly acknowledge the panhandler. If asked for money, simply say, “Sorry,” move purposefully towards your destination, do not engage or allow yourself to be engaged, don’t fumble for change or make excuses. And don’t forget to donate to the Kindness Meters, so that the money you donate goes directly to the agencies that help.”