Support the following Downtown organizations that are devoted to making a real different in the lives of those who are struggling:
- Biddle Housing Opportunities Center
- Employment Connection
- Gateway 180
- Neighborhood Stabilization Team
- St. Louis Agency on Training & Education
- St. Louis City Health Department
- St. Louis Office for Development Disabilities Resources
- St. Patrick Center
- United Way
Generosity Better Spent
Real Change strives to end panhandling in Downtown St. Louis by raising awareness of the issues and providing donations to agencies that help people improve their lives.
Through Real Change, every donation will make a difference. Instead of dropping your spare change in a cup, consider a donation to an agency dedicated to providing food, clothes, shelter and counseling to people in need.
St. Louis City Ordinance 67918: It is illegal to Panhandle
(1) In any public transportation vehicle;
(2) Within 50 feet of an automatic teller machine or entrance to a bank;
(3) Within 30 feet of a point of entry to or exit from any building open to the public, including commercial establishments;
(4) At any sidewalk café;
(5) Within 50 feet of any public or private school;
(6) At any bus stop, train stop, or cab stand;
(7) Within 20 feet of any crosswalk;
(8) Within any municipal or government owned building, park, golf course, or playground.
What to do if you’re approached
- Research shows panhandlers could become aggressive both by being acknowledged and ignored.
- In areas with heavy panhandling activity, encourage stakeholders, visitors and residents to consider these options to minimize aggression and keep their district safe.
If you choose to acknowledge…
- Make eye contact, do not break your movement and verbally give a succinct, “No.” Most panhandlers will recognize your firm stance and move on.
- Engage the panhandler with a verbal, “No,” plus a statement of explanation or encouragement.
- Suggest resources. Remove the attention from yourself and recommend a local shelter.
If you choose to ignore…
- Do not say anything, and use your body language to say, “No.” Do not break stride. Panhandlers are unlikely to waste their time on someone who doesn’t engage.
- Leave the area. Silently, directly and calmly walk away from the panhandler.
If the panhandler still gets aggressive…
- Do not try to engage them. Enter a building or crowd, and call 911. Or, use your Safetrek App.
Myths and Facts
- Myth: Panhandlers have no food or shelter.
- Fact: There are numerous organizations, especially in Downtown, that are here to help with food and immediate housing. Giving time or money to one of these reputable organizations is where real differences are made.
- Myth: Giving to panhandlers helps get them off the streets.
- Fact: Panhandlers will continue to beg for money if they know they have people willing to give to them and often enables them to continue to abusing drugs and alcohol. There are many panhandlers that are able bodied and can find work.
- Myth: Panhandling is something that comes with working or living in a Downtown area.
- Fact: Panhandling will end if people stop giving them money. If panhandlers quit receiving money, they will move on elsewhere or seek services to provide them with actual help, rather than a quick fix.