ABILENE (KXAN) — A divisive Facebook post from Chief Stan Stanridge of the Abilene Police Department urges residents to stop giving money directly to panhandlers but rather donate to nonprofits that specifically address the issue of homelessness.
The NBC affiliate, KTAB, in Abilene reports Stanridge posted details about a well-known panhandler in the city. He said the man allegedly admitted to not being homeless and makes up to $1,000 a weekend.
“You’re not going to address homelessness in this city by giving $5 out the [car] window but if you give $5 and I give $5 and we all give them to nonprofits specializing in ending homeless then we can actually make an impact,” said Chief Standridge.
The controversial post, which has been seen by hundreds of people on Facebook, has garnered both criticism and support. Stanridge says his post was not meant to anger, but rather to educate as many people as possible about the best way to help neighbors in need.
You can view an interview with Chief Standridge and Katherine Bisson with Abilene Hope Haven and the West Texas Homeless Network below.
“We want to be able to reach out to people that might have had bad experiences with agencies or their barriers are so high that they are unable to come to us,” said Bisson.
According to KTAB, the panhandler Chief Standridge discussed said he will continue to beg for money. Standridge says he is within his rights to do so as long as he follows city ordinances.