ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – A Facebook post from Police Chief Stan Standridge urged residents to avoid giving money directly to suspected homeless panhandlers and instead donate to area nonprofits.
The divisive Facebook post included details about a well-known panhandler that Chief Standridge says admitted to police during a welfare check that he is not homeless and allegedly makes up to $1,000 in a weekend.
When asked about the post and why he panhandles, the man, sat in a wheelchair next to a busy Abilene intersection, said it was the only way he can make money because he cannot work.
The post was seen by hundreds on the social media site, drawing criticism and support from various internet users. However, Chief Standridge claims his intention with the post was not to ignite emotions, but inform residents of what he says is the “best way” to help neighbors in need.
“You’re not going to address homelessness in this city by giving $5 out the [car] window but if you give $5 and I give $5 and we all give them to nonprofits specializing in ending homeless then we can actually make an impact,” said Chief Standridge.
Katherine Bisson with Abilene Hope Haven and the West Texas Homeless Network says donations to nonprofits like the ones she works for help fuel initiatives to perform more assistance outreaches.
“We want to be able to reach out to people that might have had bad experiences with agencies or their barriers are so high that they are unable to come to us,” said Bisson.
The panhandler says he intends to keep begging for money, which Chief Standridge says is his right to do so as long as he follows city ordinances.
If you’d like more information on the nonprofits mentioned in this story follow these links:
Abilene Hope Haven: 325-677-4673
West Texas Homeless Network: 325-260-1417