Statement

Aggressive panhandling in Downtown New Haven contributes to the loss of access to and enjoyment of public places and creates a sense of fear, intimidation and disorder.

Panhandling in certain areas threatens the economic vitality of the districts, impairing the city’s long term goals of attracting citizens, businesses, and tourists to these certain areas and, consequently the city overall.

The City of New Haven has substantial interests in the protection of public safety, the use of public transportation, the safe and unobstructed flow of traffic on its public streets, the preservation of the safe use of public areas, protecting the aesthetics of historic areas within the city, protecting the city’s investment in certain areas, protecting tourism and the city’s economy.

It is not Town Green District's intent to punish the status or condition of any person or to prohibit acts authorized as an exercise of a person’s constitutional right to legally picket, protest, or speak.

The Facts about Panhandling

Myth: Panhandlers have no source of income.

Fact: The majority of panhandlers have some source of income. Numerous panhandlers have either worked for pay in the last month and/or received some type of assistance from family, friends, or social services.

Myth: Panhandlers are homeless.

Fact: Often, panhandlers are not homeless. Emergency shelter is available for those who are homeless. While some shelters ask for a nominal nightly fee, most will waive the fee for those who cannot afford it in exchange for completing a chore at the shelter.

Myth: Panhandlers have no food or means to obtain food.

Fact: There are numerous free and discounted food services offered throughout New Haven. WIC and SNAP programs are also available to individuals who demonstrate financial need.

Myth: Panhandlers use money they collect for food and shelter.

Fact: Panhandlers often use the money they collect to support substance or gambling addictions, not to acquire food or shelter.

It’s OK to not give spare change to a panhandler.

If you are in need of assistance when dealing with a panhandler, contact the New Haven Police Non-Emergency Number at 203-946-6316.