Mt. Healthy police: Street solicitation supports addiction, substance abuse

Mt. Healthy police: Street solicitation supports addiction

MT. HEALTHY, OH (FOX19) - Should you be giving panhandlers standing at off ramps money? Mt. Healthy police say no, and they recently posted concerns on Facebook.

The post reads in part: "Despite your best intentions, the overwhelming majority of street solicitations will not be used to buy food or help those in need. Street solicitations are used to support addiction and substance abuse."

Kim Webb, with the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky who works with the homeless, says there is not a clear path as to where that money goes.

"It would be difficult for me to say where people spend their money. Typically that could be cigarettes, alcohol, drugs -- it could go toward food," Webb said.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration put together some information which states that 38 percent of homeless people depend on alcohol while 26 percent abuse other drugs.

The post from police also encourages people to donate to the food pantry. Kathy Lorenz, the food pantry director at the Mount Healthy Alliance Food Pantry, says they serve about 500 families each month.

She agrees with the police believing the better move is to donate to a homeless organization rather than giving a panhandler money. She said by having them come to an organization that can get vital information that they can't get on the street.

The Mt. Healthy Facebook post can be read in full below:

Please do not support individuals holding signs soliciting money on expressway ramps. Our community is rich in support for those truly in need. Despite your best intentions, the overwhelming majority of street solicitations will not be used to buy food or help those in need. Street solicitations are used support addiction and substance abuse. In addition, your actions encourage the blocking traffic. Standing in the roadway to collect funds is illegal and dangerous to the individual impeding traffic and to other motorists trying to stop or drive around stopped traffic. Please use your funds to support legitimate charitable institutions. The Mount Healthy Food Pantry is one such institution.

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