DCI: Better ways to help the homeless than reaching for pocket change

Jan 26, 2015

Downtown Cincinnati Inc. is launching an effort to decrease panhandling while maintaining or increasing support to social services.  DCI president David Ginsburg says the group is publicizing agencies that try to get to the root of poverty.

“People want to give.  They want to help other people.  This is something that’s been tested in other cities to be very effective,” Ginsburg says.  “That gives people with an impulse to want to help, a way to help in a more effective way.  And at the same time discourages people from panhandling for money on the streets.”

DCI is publishing pamphlets with advice for people who are approached for money.  The pamphlets contain suggestions like “walk briskly and confidently," and “politely say no or sorry."

“Most of our panhandlers… they know the rules and they abide by them.  But, occasionally, there is someone who’s either a little bit more aggressive or they’re in a place where people feel uncomfortable,” says Ginsburg. 

The pamphlets list the numbers for DCI’s Downtown Ambassadors hotline and Cincinnati Police and encourage people to report aggressive panhandlers.  They also suggest giving to social service agencies that provide food, shelter, and counseling.

Ginsburg says DCI is working with Cincinnati Police, the United Way, the Drop Inn Center, City Gospel Mission, Anna Louise Inn, the Freestore Foodbank, the Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment, and Strategies to End Homelessness.