Berks County lawmakers hope to combat aggressive panhandling

Lawmakers in Berks County are hoping to combat aggressive panhandling. They say they just want to get people the help they need.

It's a growing concern in the suburbs and in towns like Reading, Berks County.

"Some of them do get aggressive but most of them are not. I really don't see a problem with it," resident Cory Nein told FOX 29.

Other residents do see a problem. They say it's way beyond people genuinely down on their luck.

"It's a living for them. They make more money than I do working," Barry Gibson said.

Reading City Council is trying to address panhandling before it spirals out of control. They're considering proposals ranging from rallying resources for those who really need help to fining some panhandlers hundreds of dollars.

"I think it has to be something that's fair where. We are incorporating a lot of our community-based organizations that provide services that perhaps we can offer people", Councilwoman  Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz said.

The councilwoman sees both sides of the issue. She owns a restaurant on Penn Street where she says customers and staff often offer food not money and most are nice.

"You also have those people, they're straight up harassing you. They're in your face aggressively demanding almost that you give them money," she explained.

The councilwoman says they're looking to their neighbors for ideas.

"We wanna learn for other townships and cities. We don't want to reinvent the wheel. Let's see what works and what we can implement here," Cepeda-Freytiz said.