Is panhandling a problem in Vernon?
Panhandling is an issue that many communities face across B.C. and Canada. Complex social issues like panhandling require coordinated community responses that address root causes. Not all panhandlers are homeless. Many, however, share the same issues as people who are homeless: addictions, mental health issues, disabilities, poverty, low levels of education and unemployment. Panhandling is not illegal and deciding whether to give or not is a personal decision. However, giving change directly to panhandlers can lead to more, not fewer, problems.
Many Vernon businesses and residents are concerned about panhandlers interfering with business or making areas where panhandlers gather uninviting to businesses or residents. The City of Vernon is providing information for individuals and businesses so that responses to panhandlers is coordinated and effective.
Is panhandling illegal?
No, panhandling is legal. However, it is illegal to violate the Safe Streets Act and the Trespass Act to panhandle. This includes aggressive panhandling or panhandling from medians or roadways.