Clarksville Tackles Panhandling Problem

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - It's a problem Clarksville is tackling with real change. That is what city officials said about panhandling there.

The city of Clarksville kicked off an initiative Wednesday in hopes of ending panhandling on its streets.

"Clarksville has seen a rise in the number of people who are engaged in panhandling," said Mayor Kim McMillan.

Mayor McMillan believes the city's growth and prosperity has caused them to deal with some of these challenges.

During a press conference Wednesday, the city of Clarksville announced its new campaign: Real Change, Not Spare Change.

The goal is to get residents to donate to organizations that help with Clarksville's homeless population, like the Manna Cafe.

"We have food trailers that we go into the community five times a week, and we serve hot meals in different parts of the community," said Kenny York, Manna Cafe founder.

In the winter, Manna Cafe also provides warming shelters.

The city is providing police with cards to hand out to people in need of help. York thinks this campaign is a great start to addressing the problem.

"Those guys on the street corner are standing there for a reason. Some of them have true needs. So how are we as a community going to get those needs to that person?" York said.

Mayor McMillan is hoping Real Change, Not Spare Change can help lessen the impact of homelessness.

"A donation to real change is an investment in long-term solutions," said Mayor McMillan.

There are some laws that prohibit aggressive panhandling, like walking in the middle of traffic, but there is no law that prohibits panhandling in public areas.

Any organization interested in handing out cards should contact the City of Clarksville Mayor's Office.

If you would like to donate to the organizations that are involved in this initiative, click here.

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