ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Keep your change.
That’s the City of Arlington’s message to drivers who want to give to the many panhandlers standing on busy street corners around town.
In a partnership with neighboring Marysville, the city has put up more than 20 signs with the “Keep Your Change: message, directing people to give their money to local charities instead.
“This is a way we can channel that into services so hopefully we can get them back into being a productive member of society,” said Kristen Banfield with the city.
Panhandling is nothing new, but it got especially bad this summer. Banfield says they counted more than 100 homeless in Arlington, who sometimes made $300 a day from panhandling.
“Folks that were very forceful asking for money and making some people very uncomfortable,” said Banfield.
The plan appears to be working. One panhandler named Scott says he only made $2 yesterday. The hope is through giving to local charities, the homeless will still get the assistance they need.
The city also reports that drug abuse is down.
Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. We talked to Connie Phillips after she hopped out of her truck to give a man $20.
“I’m sorry, I’d rather give to the person, because then it doesn’t go through a lot of red tape,” said Phillips.
Businesses can have a sign put up for $25.