[NEWS] Panhandling perils and the search for solutions
Groups like Project HOME along with city agencies including the Office of Homeless Services and Philadelphia Police work together.
The main focus is connecting panhandlers to the services they need, including help with addiction or mental health, or resources like the "Hub of Hope," a walk-in engagement center in Suburban Station.
Police officers can act as a point to summon outreach teams. Some officers have been specially trained.
"We certainly don't want to criminalize being homeless. Although we certainly recognize the safety issue of panhandling in the street," Captain Seikou Kinebrew explains, "We also realize we can't arrest our way out of a problem."
Thomas notes Project HOME's 24 hour hotline gets calls every day for people panhandling in traffic. Then, outreach teams are dispatched.