LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Officials say that a city initiative has decreased the number of panhandlers in Lexington.
The End Panhandling Now van has been running since 2017, picking up panhandlers who are willing to do work and providing them with an opportunity to work short-term for the city, picking up trash for $9 an hour. Since it’s launch is 2016, it’s proven itself successful.
The city canvassing showed around 125 panhandlers in the city limits from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Now in their last count, it was down to 14 people.
“I’ve talked to so many of these guys when they come back at the end of the day, and they say, ‘We would so much rather be outside working and earning this money than begging for it,’ and it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment that they did something today,” said Tyler Hurst, Executive Director of New Life Day Center.
Daniel Brubaker, a man experiencing homelessness in Lexington, says that every day the van is running, he is ready to get on and get to work.
“Me and a couple other guys fill 20 plus bags every time we get on the van,” he said.
They have the opportunity to work every Tuesday and Thursday.
“We stop and ask, ‘hey do you want to work instead of standing here and panhandling,’ 92 percent say yes, they want to work they want to earn this money,” said Hurst.
Brubaker says he wants people to change their views about homeless people.
“You see me on the corner five seconds when you go by, and you scream at me to get a job, what do you see when I’m not there, or when you aren’t on the corner? You label somebody because you see me standing there, and you’ve had someone tell you something about one particular person,” he said.
You can donate to help the End Panhandling Now van here.