Asheville Safety Committee Discusses Panhandling

Picture of person holding sign saying, "Homeless - Anything Helps."

Panhandling has now become a hot topic for Asheville leaders who want to crack down by tweaking local laws.

But many who panhandle across Asheville on medians are already breaking current laws in place, as they face scant enforcement. Asheville Police Department cites the ongoing staffing shortage with challenges policing panhandlers breaking the laws.

Opinions are strong on both sides of the panhandling debate, but Asheville City Council’s subcommittee on safety, chaired by Councilwoman Maggie Ullman, is looking to address ongoing panhandling on roads and sidewalks.

“We haven’t updated this ordinance in 20 years,” said Ullman. “And we need as a community to discuss what we think about panhandling. You’re going to have people say never do it, it’s bad for the panhandler, it’s giving handouts, and you’re going to have people who say they’re human, I have some spare change I want to give. On city council, we’re opening it up to have that conversation.”

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