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New anti-panhandling program provides a better way to offer change

Posted May 16, 2018

Folks in Fort Worth have big hearts, and whenever someone asks for a helping hand, we’re likely to give it to them. But when it comes to panhandling on city streets, handing over spare change is a bad idea.

Panhandling violates a Fort Worth city ordinance, encourages a transient way of life and negatively affects public safety and quality of life. In 2017, Fort Worth Police issued 691 citations for soliciting contributions in the street, 210 citations for aggressive panhandling in a prohibited area and 47 citations for soliciting donations.

A coalition of community partners — representing government, the business community and social service agencies — has a new solution. While many panhandling programs go after the panhandlers, this new program is about educating the people who give money. This will allow them to donate to a fund that will help those in need.

Residents who are willing to help can text FWCHANGE to 41444 and their donations will benefit the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition. The donated funds will help provide housing-related services such as application fees and security deposits; bus tickets; motel vouchers for families; and mattresses.

Community partners will work with businesses and organizations to help educate residents and visitors about the program. The city is asking residents and organizations to help spread the word about the new program. Information is free to download on the city’s website.

A community conference on homelessness is planned for 9 a.m.-noon June 30 at University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Drive. Workshops will cover effective giving, how to get involved and housing opportunities. The goal is to educate the public and to redirect charitable efforts to be more effective.

Register for the conference.

To learn more, contact Tara Perez at 817-392-2235.

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Race and Culture Leadership Training for Fort Worth City Council, Appointed Officials, and Assistant City Managers: 9 a.m. May 29, 2018; Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, Multipurpose Room, 501 West Felix Street.
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Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. May 29, 2018; City Hall, Second Floor, Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.

Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. May 29, 2018; City Hall, Second Floor, Council Chambers, 200 Texas Street.

Public Meeting Regarding the Proposed Goal for Fiscal Year 2018 Through 2021: 8 a.m. May 30, 2018; Office of Business Diversity Economic Development Department, 1150 South Freeway, Suite 144.
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Rolling Town Hall: 6 p.m. May 30, 2018; Pearl Snap Kolaches, 4006 White Settlement Road.

Green Breakfast Networking Event: 9 a.m. May 31, 2018; Business Assistance Center, James E Guinn Entrepreneurial Campus, 1150 S. Freeway.
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DFW International Airport Public Facility Improvement Corporation Board Meeting: 10 a.m. May 31, 2018; DFW International Airport Headquarters Building, Board Room, 2400 Aviation Drive.
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Splash Day at Greenbriar Community Center: 4 p.m. May 31, 2018; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill.

View the full city calendar.