The Rapidian

Focus on Issues: Panhandling in Grand Rapids

To give or not to give? Downtown organizations discuss panhandling in Grand Rapids and their new initiative "Real Change, Not Spare Change."
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Focus on Issues

Focus on Issues features nonprofits and community groups collaborating on social issues in Grand Rapids. The program is a feature of GRTV and the Community Media Center, with producer and host Julie Way. You can catch it on GRTV and can view past episodes on the Grand Rapids Community Media Center website. If there is an issue that you would like to see discussed, please contact Julie Way.

The latest episode of Focus on Issues focuses on panhandling in Grand Rapids. In early June, the Grand Rapids City Commission attempted to pass an ordinance that would put limitations on panhandling, such as banning begging from motorists. The vote was split and the ordinance did not pass. The Commission will review the full scope of the restrictions and revisit the issue at a later date. However, panhandling remains an issue in the city, and residents are constantly trying to understand how to best respond to panhandlers.

Marge Palmerlee, Executive Director of Degage Ministries, Reverend Andy DeBraber, Executive Director of Heartside Ministries and Kris Larson, President and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. join us in studio to discuss the issue. Their organizations, along with other social service agencies, businesses and churches, have collaborated to form "Real Change, Not Spare Change." The initiative works to educate the public on how to respond to panhandlers and encourages giving to the Heartside Community Fund, which is a resource for local agencies who are helping our homeless or panhandling neighbors. Learn more at the Real Change, Not Spare Change website.

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