Say No to Panhandlers, Yes to Giving
According to the United States Department of Justice, many studies have found that only a small percentage of homeless people panhandle, and only a small percentage of panhandlers are homeless.
How Can You Truly Help the Poor and Homeless?
Stop giving to panhandlers and start giving to trusted charity organizations instead. Each time you are compelled to give to a panhandler, redirect that money to your favorite charity. Not only will you be helping someone, but you may also be able to get something back at tax time by claiming the charitable contributions as a deduction. Now that’s a win-win!
Click here for a partial listing of local organizations that accept donations and utilize volunteers to assist homeless individuals and others in need.
Resources for Business and Property Owners to Foster a Panhandling Free Environment
The design aspects of a business property can positively impact its accessibility and appeal to customers while discouraging panhandlers. There are many small adjustments that the City’s Planning Division can advise business property owners on such as modifying landscaping choices, fine-tuning the placement of lights, and the use of permitted temporary signs to discourage loitering at entrances. The Planning Division can be reached by calling (805) 583-6769.
Additionally, the Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit can assist business and property owners with safeguarding their locations from attracting illegal activity and assist with establishing a Business Watch with adjacent businesses. Crime Prevention staff can be reached by calling (805) 583-6276.
The Police Department is also available to assess a location and its eligibility for additional enforcement options. Businesses can contact the Community Liaison Officer Program at (805) 583-6161 to discuss enforcement options.
Homeless Services Referral Cards and Say No to Panhandlers brochures are available to businesses who would like to help in educating the community on the importance of directing contributions to service providers that directly benefit individuals in need. Call (805) 583-6861 to request cards and/or brochures.
Resources and Referrals
Simi Valley's Citizen Advisor program provides citizens with helpful information and referral to local government and non-profit resources to assist with a wide variety of needs, including referral to City and government services, landlord/tenant issues, neighbor concerns, homeless services, social services, and consumer resources.
For more information on the Citizen Advisor program, click here.
Ways to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness
There are many ways to contribute to the efforts to prevent and reduce homelessness. Those individuals that would like to assist the homeless and needy are encouraged to identify their Call to Action by clicking here.
Don’t give money to panhandlers. Redirect your generosity to service providers that assist those in need. Donations of time or money can go further and have a greater, longer-lasting impact on the homeless and needy. Click here for organizations that accept donations and rely on volunteers to prevent and reduce homelessness.
Additionally, Homeless Referral Cards are available to community members who would like to distribute resources to those in need in lieu of contributing to panhandlers. Call (805) 583-6861 to request cards.
Task Force on Homelessness
The Task Force on Homelessness was established by the City Council in 1999 to address the issue of homelessness in Simi Valley. The Task Force on Homelessness coordinates the distribution of resources to assist homeless individuals, those at-risk of homelessness, and those in need. For more information about the Task Force on Homelessness, click here.