Pasco panhandlers might see a change in the law

Pasco panhandlers might see a change in the law »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- They're not hard to find-- people standing on street corners holding a cardboard sign or toting a plastic cup -- hopeful for your loose change.

"I definitely see it. I don't think we have as large of an obvious in-your-face problem as they do in some larger cities, but it still exists," says Jennifer Martinez.

She works directly with homeless people trying to get off the street.

"When I see a need, I like to be a part of finding a solution," she says.

She agrees that panhandling is becoming an issue in the Tri-Cities.

Officials with City of Pasco say it's intersections like Court Street and 20th where solicitors will actually go into the street and get money and other things from people in cars,which obviously brings up a lot of safety concerns.

"Stepping into traffic, holding cars up," says Police Police Captain Jim Raymond.

Kennewick made this very thing illegal at some of its busiest intersections earlier this year. Now Pasco is considering something similar. If passed, a new law would stop people from being able to hold signs on certain street corners. It would still be allowed in driveways or places you can park.

"It's not going to stop anybody from being able to panhandle, it's just that they're going to have to limit where it is that they're panhandling from," Raymond says.

Jennifer would like to see even more done to solve the overall poverty problem.

"I would like to see us getting more involved in finding solutions for those who are maybe panhandling or in homeless situations to help them in getting out of those issues," she says.

Solving those issues could be confronted if there's fewer places to ask for a handout.

Right now the main intersections considered to be a problem are Court and 20th in East Pasco and Court and Road 68 in West Pasco.

Pasco insists this isn't a way to be hard on the homeless -- but to focus on traffic safety.