Christopher Gadget seeks assistance at the intersection of River Hills Road and Wood Avenue. // Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

The people you see on Asheville sidewalks and street corners, with sad eyes and cardboard signs, have every right to ask you for money. The First Amendment says so.

But they’ll have fewer opportunities to receive assistance, if the Asheville City Council moves ahead with proposed revisions to the city’s solicitation ordinance, often referred to as the panhandling law.

At its Aug. 22 meeting, the council is expected to discuss a revised ordinance that would restrict panhandling in the River Arts District and along Haywood Road in West Asheville.

Most dramatically, perhaps, the proposed ordinance would make it illegal for motorists to give money from their vehicles.

It’s already illegal to panhandle on roadsides and medians, although city officials acknowledge that the law is difficult to enforce and isn’t a priority for police. But the proposed changes would bar motorists from passing a buck through the window.

Under the latest proposal, the River Arts District and Haywood Road in West Asheville would be designated  “high traffic zones,” joining Biltmore Village and much of downtown, which already have that designation.

In high traffic zones, panhandlers may hold signs but may not verbally ask for money. They must stay on sidewalks and can’t solicit money after dark.

Earlier this month, the town of Mars Hill adopted a similar ordinance banning intimidating panhandling and restricting the times and places panhandling can be conducted.

The Asheville council is likely to consider final passage of the revisions in two parts, according to City Attorney Brad Branham. Some technical revisions clarifying language are likely to be discussed at the council’s Sept. 12 meeting, while the ban on motorist giving and the expansion of high-traffic zones likely will wait until October.

Balancing public safety and First Amendment

In revising the panhandling law, the council’s challenge is to balance public safety with the First Amendment right to free speech because at its core, panhandling is simply one person asking another for help. That’s protected speech, according to a long series of judicial rulings.

The goal, Branham said, is to make the panhandling ordinance more precise in its language and more consistent with state law and court rulings on the topic.

Brad Branham, Asheville City Attorney

The proposed revision, he said, “is targeted almost entirely at cleaning up ambiguity. These are technical or wording amendments in that they don’t change what’s on the books. It is not uncommon for us to go through from time to time and refresh things.”

One such refreshment is a prohibition against soliciting from roadway median strips. The existing law already prohibits soliciting from medians. But with panhandlers visibly at work on the medians of many heavily traveled highways in the area, the proposed revision adds language listing the prohibited activities in greater detail.

“This is something that city staff perceives as a safety hazard,” Branham said. “You really should not be in the roadway trying to interact with cars, or the median or the shoulder. We do see it as something that is a growing concern to the people engaged in this, as well as to the general public.”

City staff did not propose the ban on motorist giving. That restriction, along with the expanded high traffic zones, was added by council members in a July 25 meeting of the Environment and Safety Committee, consisting of Maggie Ullman, Sandra Kilgore and Sheneika Smith. The vote was 3-0.

Branham acknowledged that the law is unlikely to be aggressively enforced, especially given the city’s current shortage of police officers. 

Christopher Gadget says he has lived on the streets for 11 years. He stands with his dog Bear at the intersection of River Hills Road and Wood Avenue, hoping to receive money from motorists. // Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

“The reality is, even if we had a fully staffed police department, we can’t have an officer on every corner,” he said. He said officers sometimes will flash their lights at a panhandler to encourage them to move on, but they’ll often return after the officer leaves.

Soliciting vehicles from a sidewalk would remain legal, so panhandlers at highway exit ramps presumably could continue to solicit, as long as they’re on a sidewalk and not on the roadway or median.

The revised ordinance also would clarify aggressive panhandling. Current law prohibits actions such as following people, blocking their way or touching them. The final proposal, Branham said, is likely to specify that panhandlers must remain eight feet from their intended benefactors.

The proposed revisions also crack down on panhandling at outdoor dining or merchandising areas. Current law prohibits panhandling at outdoor dining areas, but the revised ordinance makes clear that this includes not only panhandling within the areas, but also directing pleas to people inside of them.

In other words, even if a panhandler remains outside a dining area, he or she can’t solicit the people who are dining inside it. The same would hold true for outdoor markets.

“An indictment of our society”

Panhandling laws serve to mask the underlying problems that lead people to panhandle in the first place, said William Knight, litigation director of the National Homelessness Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca, who declined to provide her last name, stands on the median at Tunnel and South Tunnel roads. // Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

“The whole point of these laws is to target … people we don’t want to see,” he said. “Asking for charity is no different coming from an individual than it is coming from the Salvation Army.

“We craft these [solicitation] laws for people who are socially acceptable: churches, the Salvation Army, others. There’s a long history of the poor asking for charity, and not just in the United States. And that’s a protected activity.”

Knight’s organization, along with others, won a case in U.S. District Court earlier this year challenging the constitutionality of a panhandling ordinance in Montgomery, Ala. A federal judge barred enforcement of the state’s panhandling laws, ruling that the activity is protected speech.

Public-safety arguments in favor of panhandling laws could be a more difficult challenge, Knight said, but any such laws – such as the ban on motorist giving – would have to pass “strict scrutiny.”

“We’d have to see real data on the way it impacts drivers,” he said.

Another option: No panhandling laws?

In a research paper published last year in “Cities,” an academic journal, economists Peter Leeson and R. August Hardy argued that panhandling has not been studied enough to offer a foundation for anti-panhandling laws.

“American panhandling regulation is uninformed about that which it regulates,” the authors wrote. “Our analysis suggests that existing panhandling regulations in U.S. cities may not reduce public nuisance associated with panhandlers and may even increase it.”

Some demographic data does exist. Panhandlers are most likely to be male, under age 50, and homeless. Roughly two-thirds are likely to have substance or mental health issues, according to research cited by Leeson and Hardy. But there is relatively little research on why people panhandle; without knowing more about motivation, the authors argued, regulations are shooting at an unknown target.

In fact, they wrote, restrictions in the name of public safety may drive poor people away from panhandling and into other subsistence activities such as theft and scavenging, which would impose public-safety burdens of their own.

Banning panhandling in one area also could prompt panhandlers to concentrate in other areas, leading to more aggressive solicitation in those areas as panhandlers compete for a smaller pool of targets.

More research is needed, they wrote, on “what currently is not well understood about panhandlers but must be understood for panhandling regulation to be well informed: the determinants of panhandling activities.”

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. John Reinan was a reporter for seven newspapers from Alaska to Florida. He was part of a team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Email

66 replies on “Asheville’s revised panhandling ordinance could usher in big changes”

  1. It is difficult to envision any motorist being cited for giving money to a panhandler, but the proposed law is certainly a prime example of bone-headed politicians making otherwise law-abiding citizens criminals because the politicians are otherwise afraid to confront a problem and deal with it.

  2. I don’t have any reason to believe Asheville City Council will have produce any effective solution to the negative effects of panhandling, homelessness or drug abuse in our municipality. Nor will any amount of virtue signaling or verbal self gratification by those who appear to support these activities. Who will enforce these ordinances? The City doesn’t have enough law enforcement officers to even effectively police traffic violations here, much less chase down our homeless population.
    I do take issue with the statement that there is no difference between contributing to panhandlers or The Salvation Army. One contribution provides food, shelter and hope for a better life. The other, more often than not, enables a person to continue in a downward spiral of drug or alcohol abuse or untreated mental illness. Are we really giving a living, breathing human being a hand up with a hand out?

    1. Sad eyes and a bad drug or alcohol problem that needs cash everyday. I know the argument is to choose between a panhandler or more people stealing stuff because no matter what, a person that needs drugs is going to find a way to get the $. I still think it very unfair to expect motorists to duck and dive to avoid people finding the best spot on the pavement down Patton, and all the cars slowing down to throw out a $ to make themselves feel better. Maybe these folks will find another way to live their lives.
      And stop using your kids to gain sympathy.
      To the guy that stands at the off ramp from I 40 to Sweeten Creek Road, why do you always have a puppy with you? What happened to the other one? Leaving a dog in the sun all day with no water is just cruel.

    2. I agree with so much being said here particularly in favor of stricter laws regarding panhandling! For a moment let’s get off the pity pot for these beggars for a moment! REAL help through the Salvation army, etc exists! We as the public should not be shamed into giving money to people who more not are using YOUR hard earned money for alcohol & drugs. There are signs on every street corner “Hiring now”. There are exceptions to every rule but I applaud the upcoming legislation that makes it illegal for motorists to stop giving money from their vehicle!!

  3. What about Patton Ave? That is a heavy traffic area. The panhandlers look and walk up to the cars.

    1. correct Teresa. The amount of people on the center divider is alarming and dangerous. Way more people than ever before. It is only a matter of time until someone gets hurt by a car. I wish I had an answer, but I must admit that I do not. Frustrating.

    2. It’s Asheville. C’mon. You’re supposed to watch them shoot up all over downtown and give them a $20 or a $50 for a job well done. We want to show our support for addicts that use 850,000 needles a year. Pick a few up if you can. 🤪

      1. Totally agree! You called it the way it is!! Asheville & other liberal cities who have a bleeding heart which is entirely unfounded need to recognize the truth!!

  4. I see- city council– nothing will change. The police will not enforce the noise from vehicle’s modified mufflers- – they will not enforce this- and they do not show up at Pack Square from 10PM to 2 AM –when needed- but do show up to usually to sit there in their cars in the mornings- sometimes for hours.. nothing happening then. . The city will not figure a way to stop the incessant noise- the flag wavers singing and shouting into microphones and pseudo musicians loudly cranking up their amps. Cars and trucks blast their radios -we can hear them for blocks.. – the city does nothing. The sidewalks have people falling and are filthy with some lying on the ground sleeping having signs– to give them money. Minor point but how “we” are not supported– The city has NO dedicated pickleball courts- for the growing number of players and as I believe Greenville, SC has many dedicated courts .. with paved walkways- new restrooms and adequate parking.. again we have “0”. But we can spend $2 million a year on baseball — fun –for locals to go a couple times- but too expensive — we need more for us— for our $2 million each year- maybe forever.. Where is the decision-making ? We are on the wrong track… the city’s condition is worse every year. 3 years ago was not this bad… We are certainly in decline.

    1. Given that the first amendment considers panhandling free speech, the only real solution is to somehow make public property private. Nobody can force you to listen to their speech in your own living room. But the “public square” does need to have freedom to speak and even protest.
      This isn’t just an Asheville problem. I’ve seen it in Nashville, and even more conservative places like Birmingham Al.
      Taxpayers pay for the roads and parks, yet have no right to quiet enjoyment of these public spaces. Something has to change in the conception of these rights.

  5. Panhandling has become a easy way to solicit money by people that would rather beg than work. Some are known in the community as just lazy and have been able to live comfortably on what they collect in begging on the streets.

  6. Create a city jobs program that would offer the opportunity to do menial work such as weeding and picking up litter to those homeless and or panhandlers that are able and qualified. A supervised program could give them some needed dignity and a better feeling of self worth. There of course would need to be a compensation incentive.

    1. NY has 1000’s of homeless folks that sit in empty rooms. This is a crime against taxpayers. Employment opportunities have never been better. Why would we just makeup paid no show jobs?

  7. The roadway is dangerous enough without activities such as panhandlers (or the Salvation Army for that matter) interfering with the safe(r) flow of traffic according to the rules of the road.

  8. Is no one concerned that the government is legislating to whom, how, and where we can give our money?

  9. How does allowing a person to panhandle help them if they use it for drugs and booze? Do we think panhandling with children, dogs and cats is OK? Isn’t that exploitation of innocent souls that did not ask to be used this way? Can panhandlers be taken to resources that help them vs allowing them to stand in traffic or close to roadways? Are panhandlers being exploited by rings that collect from them? Is there a difference between harassing for money vs mild manner panhandling? Is it OK for panhandlers to get angry at cafe diners if they don’t want to fork over money while they are eating? Do we want Asheville to give it all over to the houseless and panhandlers and let this dominate Asheville’s streets and exits?

  10. Why not do what Roanoke does? There are signs posted at several intersections telling people that panhandling is illegal, and giving them a number to call for help.

  11. There is and WILL NEVER BE a solution to this problem until YOU, AND I MEAN YOU, VOTE DIFFERENTLY!!! If you see the rainbow at the end of the horizon,,,, Then thats YOUR FAULT!!!

  12. I believe everyone has the right to ask for what they have need of. Some need to remember humbleness and compassion with all mankind. Just because someone doesn’t step up to your perception of how things should be done they should not be punished or made to
    be confined to others outlook on a situation. I have found many of the homeless do not have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Most of them do not want live their lives as everyone else wants them to be. There are however some that do have mental issues, but by the protection of God Almighty I have never felt threatened for my life. During these blasting hot days of summer my family donate our time giving food and water alot of water to those out and about. They don’t like saying they’re homeless ,they are just looking for a new adventure.
    Nobody should be fined handing money to another human being. Safety however for that person matters a great deal! We (my family and I )were on our way back home from Charlotte when an elderly man in a wheelchair was in the three foot median between a northbound and the southbound off ramps! It made my heart take a double jump.We stopped at the light and I squealed at my husband “look at this,do you see what I see”, He was not thinking of his own safety. I asked what he had more need of water or food. We’ve always raised our kids to give blessings to others and God will always remember you. As I handed him his rations I told him he wasn’t in a safe place. If he got hit it would devistate that driver. I do agree we all need to watch out for one another there are many other locations and abandoned store fronts that they could ask for assistance. I hope we can all inspire one another life’s journey.

    1. Acting the way you suggest ensures these people you think you are helping remain in their hopeless lives and in despair. Its does the opposite of what you think think it does and to suggest otherwise is causing them real harm.

  13. Maybe we could adopt the QR code system, as it is done in Canadian cities? There are codes all over town that you can scan with your phone to donate and these monies could be divided amongst organizations helping others so that donations stop altogether, or rather perhaps they will stop asking and if legitimately needing help, not drugs or alcohol, can go to an accountable place….

  14. personally, Asheville needs to vote these dweebs out, pick all the people up and bus them to one of the many vacant US Govt properties with running water and sewer….. guards in place plan to find all certs, find repeat drug offenders, let em go cold Turkey, put program in place to give them new or refine old skill sets.. oh and the last person leaving Asheville drop those taggers off Patton Bridge as you leave. more later

    1. If you’re going to be upset, focus your energy on the City Manager. Sure, Council can pass an ordinance, but the City Manager hires and fires the police chief. Council has no say in that.

  15. I give to the homeless shelter where a community can personally care and truly help them.
    Giving to a person asking for money on the street isn’t community. It’s giving to a stranger out of an emotional response and often false information and you may actually be giving them cash that could be used to buy something that’s killing them.

    Invite them into your home and give authentic community style help so they don’t have to ask strangers. Or, give to someone that will invite them in.. Asheville is know for many great organizations that help homeless.
    I choose to give to the homeless shelter.

    1. Do NOT invite them into your home. Compassion is one thing; dangerously foolish risk-taking with strangers is another. The article mentioned that 2/3rds of this population suffer from drug abuse. That population plays by completely different, ruthless rules – where no one else matters. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way…

    2. There was a woman murdered last month in Hendersonville by a homeless woman she had chosen to take into her home. That’s a reality check.

    3. My immediate reaction to the prospect of making giving from my vehicle illegal is planning to start doing so right away.

  16. Don’t give them money. Give them tickets for a Tourists game on Thirsty Thursday. Let community/corporate welfare collide.

  17. People think they are so much better than others that’s why they talk about them all the time, they should sit down and talk to them instead of judging them but the RICH SNOBS DON’T HAVE SENSE ENOUGH TO DO THAT THEY JUST WANT TO PUT PEOPLE DOWN,THE MAYOR AND THAT BRANHAM,THE CITY ATTORNEY!

  18. Giving a helping hand this way– by giving handouts–is really just prolonging a problem. By and large it is just kicking the can down the road and a lot of these folks will end up dead very soon unless we can do better. Is it possible to provide a community where they can live, work, get drug treatment, emotional/spiritual help? Think of the farms/communes in California in the late 60s and 70s.

  19. If I have a dollar to give after leaving Whole Foods with a hundred bucks worth of groceries, I will give it. No strings attached. Is that so wrong?

  20. Well the first step is to STOP BUSSING THEM INTO ASHEVILLE from all small surrounding cities for hundreds of miles!!! Smaller cities don’t have the resources to deal with homeless, mental, drug addicts, and alcoholics, so they give ’em a bus ticket to Asheville and say “they’ll take you.” Prob laugh after they leave saying, “they’re Asheville’s problem now.” Then idiots give them money knowing what they’ll do with it, and they’re going nuts or OD’ing on the hwy, stopping traffic. At night when panhandling is banned, they steal anything that isn’t nailed down. They take money from you like they’re innocent on the corner by day, then they rob you for everything you got by night. They’re making plenty of money to keep a steady drug supply daily, while the idiots giving them money are struggling to pay their bills.

  21. They don’t enforce existing laws, so add another. Wasteful and redundant legislation

  22. First problem GREED, which causes poverty. Even if you work for minimum wage , you can’t pay your rent, car payment, or food, etc. So you give up. Than depression sets in . Than you want to off yourself or go to drugs . This state pays the lowest minimum wage in the country. Why ? . Because we vote for people that create these problems, ( poverty ).

  23. I ventured into downtown Asheville yesterday after a 4 year hiatus. What a mess it has become, it’s clear there has been no vision for the city for many years. Development run amok. Saw a guy shooting up right outside of the courthouse. Without some better leadership all the way around (state and local) I’m afraid we are headed for mayhem. I won’t be going back anytime soon. This letter writing from council is ridiculous, kind of like the AG writing letters to HCA hospital, just a facade to make it look like they’re doing something. There’s never any follow up. But yeah let’s waste time on rewriting the panhandling laws. Has anybody done a headcount to see how many there are on any given day?

  24. Is it “wrong” to give money to panhandlers when it very likely will contribute to the very problem one is hoping to help resolve? I think so. Usually when people give away or donate money they want to know what purpose or cause one is supporting. When money is given to panhandlers on the street, it is likely going to support a destructive and potentially deadly substance abuse problem which undermines the health and well-being of the the person you have given it to, as well as the community at large — which, in turn creates more of those on the street. Even if it is going to food, or some other necessity, it likely has the effect of further delaying that person seeking out the assistance they genuinely need from the several services and agencies which can assist them.

    This is why homeless advocates and agencies are of two minds about panhandling. On the one hand, they do not wish to see laws which might further complicate the lives of those genuinely seeking help. On the other hand, they know that in a significant number of cases the money goes to drugs and other activities which perpetuate homelessness. Bottomline: Save your dollars and spare change and give them to an organization that actually works to improve the lives of the homeless. Dilemma solved.

    1. Which organization(s) actually help to improve the lives of the homeless and what exactly are they doing to help? Is it actually helping?
      Honest questions.

  25. I like the way Cambridge, MA, deals with the problem of panhandling–the Spare Change News. It’s a newspaper published by a non-profit and sold on the street. The seller keeps most of the sale and then can buy more copies to sell if they want. The content is “objective reporting on social issues.” There are two paid professional journalists, but we apparently have volunteers right here in Asheville who might be interested. When I visit there I do not see many panhandlers–a few folks with cups who sit in doorways, etc. And lots of buskers. Perhaps the Homeless Coalition would be interested in becoming a publisher! Just a few thoughts.

  26. The leadership needs to think outside of their little bubble and look at other cities have done to see what works and what doesn’t. The homeless shelter system is a waste of money other than to keep people from freezing to death in winter. If that’s your only goal, keep doing what you’re doing and keep feeding money into failed systems that mostly go to overhead and never reach the people. I’d rather give directly to the needy than to a sham mismanaged nonprofit set up for tax purposes. Until there is true affordable housing, we might all be panhandling at some point. Many of us formerly middle class are teetering on the edge barely scraping by. Transitional housing is a myth, almost no one is ever going to transition back to “normal” rents after being homeless. Eugene, OR is doing some smart things that are working. Asheville is only attempting immediate crisis control bandaids and failing miserably.

  27. It would be interesting to know how many of the people we see panhandling at bus stops are actually being trafficked? Several times I have seen luxury automobiles dropping off people with kids, dogs and cardboard signs. There are some good ideas in these comments but they are unlikely to be implemented… ever.

  28. This is a joke. Asheville isn’t going to do anything. If people would stop giving, these deadbeats would HAVE to get a job. The people giving money are the problem, and the panhandlers are the ones laughing at these idiots who give money as they shoot up.

  29. Over the past year I have watched panhandlers on a heavily traveled road work in packs of four.

    They park in a large parking lot of a big box store, split up and go do their thing.

    Head back to their parked vehicle which is a fairly nice late model SUV , then return to their apartment complex from a hard days work mooching the general public with their sad sack stories.

    I have had several former law enforcement folks to tell me most collect welfare in addition to panhandling duties, they use their free money to gamble at the casino west of here.

    Our public officials are absolutely clueless or they just don’t care if they ever clean up this pathetic situation.

    City needs new leadership politically, and a new city manager that will address and act on the many problems this town has, the list is a long one!

  30. Might it be possible for all those local religious organizations to put into practices the words of Christ to feed the hungry and cloth…. They’ve become extraordinarily good at tell us how we should live our lives.

    1. ABCCM and the Salvation Army are doing an excellent job. The church that was next to Ahope tried for years to help and they were so abused they had to move!

    2. The churches do feed and cloth people all the time, so you can stop with your anti Christian rhetoric. The problem is these liberal district attorneys and city leaders who would rather play woke identity politics than actually enforce our laws and keep the city clean. That is who has turned asheville into trashville.

    3. Are Catholic Charities , the Salvation Army, and Hearts with Hands on your list also WCB? Or has your anti Catholic bias made you blind to the truth of who is helping and who is not? Asking for a friend.

  31. It takes the tourist numbers to start going down before anything will be done. Though the people that pay the taxes have to tolerate the panhandling and the homeless everyday. I have had them come right up to my window shouting. We see open drug use, with narcam and needles handed out. Is there not a trespassing or public nuisance ordinance that they could use? It seems if they could be arrested, then evaluated to see if they have mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, to see if they could be offered treatment to get on a path back to a better life. Though I have heard, most don’t want that. Then say you have 2 choices, help or you leave Asheville. If we don’t come together and figure this out, people such as myself, who have lived here all their life will start leaving .

  32. Without enough police and without a DA who actually enforces the law, panhandling, substance abuse and lawlessness will not only continue, but it will grow.

    As tourism diminishes and theft increases, profits drop, shops close. We are well on the way to becoming another Chicago, Seattle, San Fransisco, Portland, and other once great cities whose tax-paying population is fleeing while their property values plummet.

    Lawlessness never supports a society to properly care for its addicted and mentally ill. Handouts and a permissive attitude only feeds the growth of poverty and despair. President Clinton knew this.

    Vote for change.

  33. Don’t forget Oakley area when you are making all these laws. Damn you’re going to criminalize people that’s giving them the money that’s stupid. I lived in Greensboro for a short period of time and they had the same problem until they started locking them up and putting them in jail for 30 days and they couldn’t get no drugs but they had food and shelter and they could get their mind thinking better and when they got out they realized they were clean and that they needed to get a job and that they didn’t want to go back in there for 30 days. Don’t get me wrong I have compassion on these people. Especially the veterans I see a lot of them and there’s no way they should be begging for money no matter what kind of mental situation there in they fought for this country and they should be taking care of. There are three different types of homeless. One is mental issues to is drug addiction and three is just plain old lazy folks that it could stand out all day in the hot sun they can go get a job inside in air conditioner and it would be a lot easier. Hell I’m seeing 20 and 25-year-old standing out there with a sign that could be working I’m 55 years old and I get up every day and put my shoes on and brush my teeth and go to work. Especially the younger ones pick them up put them in jail for 30 days they’ll get out and find a job. I’m just putting in my two cents I’m not a politician but any problem can be solved if enough people will work together to get it done but we’ve got to get tougher on this panhandling. I was at Walmart one night and the old man and his wife was coming out and a guy was asking them for money jacked up on meth out of his head and scared the old man and woman and started yelling at them. As I approached he was wild-eyed screaming and yelling and came up and asked me hey man you got any money. I said yes I do and if you ask in a nice kind proper way I might have gave you a little bit with this attitude you got I’ll give you something you don’t want just follow me back to my truck. He didn’t want to do that but to get to my point some of those guys are.unpredictable and violent when they’re all methamphetamines for whatever they’re doing. Don’t turn the people that are setting their car into criminals forgiving your money because then you’re in cringing on people’s rights not just the homeless peoples. There’s not a law anywhere that says I can’t give someone some money out of my own will you guys need to get it together figure it out that’s your job start doing it. I am willing to help in any way I can to solve this problem you have my email address and information and I will be glad to do anything I can do to help the people and the community to move forward. I was a wild child and if it hadn’t been for the grace of God I could have been one of those homeless people too but I was never lazy I get my butt up and go to work.

  34. I have an elderly IDD person in a wheelchair in my home. In the past month we went to Mahec. On the way out, we were approached by an unkempt man with glazed eyes demanding cigarettes. all while he’s waving his arms. Do you know how terrifying this is to a vulnerable person and to me as well since I am her caregiver. A couple weeks later, we went through the drive thru at Long John Silvers, parked the car and started eating. We had seen a young man going up Biltmore toward the hospital. He was waving his arms and having a conversation with himself. While we were eating, I noticed he had come back down and was approaching my car. I had left it running so we we just left. Then the following week we were in line at Arby’s on Tunnel Road. A very unkempt, extremely dirty man was approaching cars asking for money. When he didn’t get money he was screaming “F&@k You” “I’m gonna kill you” ad even kicking the cars, so we had to get out of line and leave. This is abuse, especially to the vulnerable population. As well as impeding a handicap person trying to see the doctor! It’s also a civil rights violation. I don’t know what the answer is but I am really fed up with my person being verbally abused and intimidated! Especially when she does not understand why someone is being “mean”

    1. This first person account from KC of what Asheville has become should be an embarrassment to all who read it. Some one is going to get killed or seriously injured for not giving money out to the wrong person and maybe then and only then will something be done about this legalized shakedown of the public. Shame on Asheville.

  35. Well, after all, we DO live in a blue city inside a blue county. Led by blue-er leaders who stuff our money sideways into their own pockets to keep their election war chests solvent. Go figure.

  36. I’ve lived in Asheville my whole 47 yrs of life, and I always loved it until the past few years when liberals have ruined our town with their woke ideologies and not enforcing laws. They tore down Vance monument because it was deemed racist. A liberals favorite word. Our city council was on good morning America pandering about reparations. They only care about identity politics, and who is the most oppressed while our city has gone to hell. We have a police shortage because of democrats constantly demonizing them. Who would want to be a cop and be labeled racist and demonized for 99% of the time they are doing their job. And our city leaders have let this homelessness problem just get worse. Instead of keeping them from sleeping on sidewalks, we are stepping over them just to go in stores downtown and sidewalks littered with used needles. I’ve been in ther states and heard Asheville referred to as trashville, I normally would take offense but I can’t because they are right.

  37. I would like to see one group “made as punishment”, have to hod the begging sign. That would be the dead beat parents, that refuses to pay child support owed to their kids. They should have to wear a sign stating…” Please help, my kids! I’m too sorry to support them! And the money given to their kids that did not ask to be here!
    Another topic for another time.

    As for the pan handlers out here begging. They are programs that help. But most have guidelines an rules that interfere with drug use.

  38. I feel that most of these hateful commenters are a group known as the Baileys Blamers, aka The Bailey Lynne Cult… They have made panhandling into a ridiculous conspiracy, they think the homeless “team up and take turns” and talk about seeing “black men with notebooks outside the mall” who are in charge of the “homeless panhandling ring”
    They are a bunch of bored, negative Nancy’s who moved here from other places and call themselves “concerned locals”
    One of there members allegedly had their car door opened by a panhandler ONE TIME and has since claimed it’s a daily occurrence (it’s not)
    Aggressive panhandling is NOT as big a problem as they make it out to be
    They are bored baby boomers who spend too much time on FB and need to humble themselves. They are obviously a group of silver Spooner’s who are lucky enough to never have struggled and hate on anyone who has experienced hardship.

    1. I don’t see hateful commentors, I see hard working residents sick to damned death of putting up with this crap out of the wee portion of the population that can’t cope with life.
      I for one am tired of the drugs and needles everywhere. I live downtown and used to love it. not so much anymore. The poor little drug users deserve all the understanding for some reason.
      Not ashamed of having silver spoons, sure don’t use them to cook the drugs. LOL

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