PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Philly's leaders are standing their ground saying they're getting aggressive in their efforts to stop panhandling. Leaders say it's not just a problem for pedestrians anymore but it's also concerning for the city's tourism.
Mayor Kenney says the city can't take on panhandling and homelessness all alone so it's pulled in the tourism industry to help with the hundreds of people on the street some left to beg to survive.
For six months, Jeremiah Sanders has worked the intersection of 5th and Roosevelt Blvd. panhandling motorists for cash. He claims he's not using drugs, but does need medical care. Despite his sad situation, city leaders say don't give him cash.
"I am the type of person who has empathy if I have a couple of bucks in my pocket I want to give it to them but it doesn't help them in the end," Mayor Jim Kenney said.
The city says it now has a way to help panhandlers and the homeless without residents giving money which often is used to by drugs and fuel the raging drug crisis. Text to 80077--type in "share" and you'll make a five dollar contribution to groups helping the homeless and the city will match the 5 bucks. It's a pilot program running through the summer. The root of the crisis: opioids.
City hall says it is working with the tourism industry.