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The Panhandling Problem

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Utahns, generally, are generous!

According to one recent study, residents along the Wasatch Front donate nearly 15-percent of their discretionary income to charity. That’s tops in the nation. People in no other metropolitan area contribute more.

Ironically, the national study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy comes as concern is being vocalized about panhandling in Salt Lake City and elsewhere. Indeed, KSL agrees that aggressive panhandling in the capital city is getting out of hand. Far too many of those begging for cash assume the same posts with the same signs day after day.

It is difficult to sympathize with professional panhandlers.

Yet, the idea of enacting ordinances to restrict panhandling or require the regulars to be licensed doesn’t sit well either. It seems an overreaction to an annoying and perplexing problem.

Instead of passing laws to limit begging, we encourage Utah citizens to continue their tradition of giving to worthy causes. Especially, give generously to those organizations that focus on helping the homeless and other needy people. Use discretion, though, in giving directly to individuals. Consider referring those who beg to the nearest soup kitchen or shelter to which contributions have been made.

In KSL’s view, this is one of several meaningful ways to deal with the problem of panhandling.

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