SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Santa Fe is telling the public to say no to panhandlers. It’s a part of a push to get panhandlers off the street and direct them to long-term resources.
City officials say soon they will be placing 10 signs at various intersections across the city that say no to panhandling and to give to local charities. The city says panhandling on public property is not illegal and they aren’t trying to criminalize anyone.
They say the idea behind the program is to change the behavior of the givers. They hope the new signs will encourage people to direct their money to local organizations that are committed to meeting the needs of the homeless population. “What we know is that panhandling is a protected free speech. We are trying to steer those same people who are looking for short-term handouts to long-term help. These are people we are trying to steer to get help with housing, with employment, with food supply, or addiction issues,” says Lilia Chacon, Communications Director for the City of Santa Fe.
The signs will be placed at these locations:
- North Guadalupe and Paseo de Peralta
- Paseo De Peralta and St. Francis Drive
- Cerrillos and St. Francis Drive (North turn lane)
- Cerrillos and St. Francis Drive (Southbound)
- St. Francis and Cordova Road
- Cordova and St. Francis Drive
- Rodeo and Cerrillos Road
- Zafarano and Cerrillos Road
- Airport Road and Cerrillos Road
- Old Pecos Trail and St. Michael’s Drive
If you are interested in giving, you can donate to Life Link (505) 438-0010, Food Depot (505) 471-1633, Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place – (505) 795-7494, and St. Elizabeth Shelter and Supportive Housing – (505) 982-6611. Officials say this is a pilot program meaning if it’s successful, they’ll look at adding more signs around the city and working with more agencies.