What is Panhandling?
The term “panhandling” traditionally refers to asking for money in a public space. Courts have ruled that it is protected (under the First Amendment) as free speech. Panhandling is not illegal unless the individual is blocking or harassing you in some fashion. If you witness or experience aggressive panhandling, call 911 and provide a brief description of the individual and the location.
Contribute with Solutions
Most people who panhandle hold a sign asking for help. This is what we know:
- Some are not homeless.
- For some, panhandling is the way they earn income.
- Some might have problems with illegal drug use.
- Some struggle with mental health conditions.
The Town of West Hartford has joined homelessness advocates and social service providers throughout the capital region to educate our communities about panhandling and provide resources to help those who panhandle.
If you decide to help those who might be struggling or who seem to be in need, below are some suggestions. Explore these tips to learn how to assist.
Suggested basic needs items to give to people who panhandle:
- New Socks
- Wet Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Comb/Small Brush
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Mints, Cough Drops, Gum
- Water Bottles
- New Hats, Gloves, Underwear
- Prepackaged Snacks (chips, granola bars)