It’s called “Help Us Help Fresno.” A program offering suggestions or education on how best to handle panhandlers.
On Thursday Aprl 11th, Fresno City Council Member Garry Bredefeld will put forward a resolution to address what he calls a pervasive problem in the city. The plan would include signage at strategic intersections in Fresno encouraging residents who want to give, to give to charities instead. Bredefeld says, “We have organizations that are helping these people, but as long as people continue to give them money, they’ll stay right where they are.”
Bredefeld estimates there are 18-hundred homeless in Fresno, of which 300 ask for money on the streets. He believes kindhearted people who give may not be helping in the way they had intended. The resolution suggests giving a dollar or two on the street may actually do more harm than good by discouraging the homeless from getting the help they need. “For those who are mentally ill, we need to get them involved in services. There are people who can help them. If you give them money, it just keeps them on street corners, it keeps them homeless,” says Bredefeld.
The proposed signs also offer a donation option: By texting “HANDUP” TO 9-9-9-9. The council would then distribute all money donated to local homeless services programs.
Council members Miguel Arias and Paul Caprioglio co-sponsed the resolution. Bredefeld says it has the support of the mayor and police chief.
If it passes, the signs would also be made available to post at local businesses.