Panhandlers in Winston-Salem could be required to wear ID badges

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Panhandlers in Winston-Salem could soon be required to wear a photo identification badge at all times under a proposal by the City Attorney’s Office.

All panhandlers are required by current city ordinance to apply and obtain a free panhandling license.

The City Attorney’s Office now recommends adding a photo ID provision into the licensing process and requiring the tag to be worn at all times while panhandling.

The ID tag would also include the license’s expiration date.

Having ready identification would help the city enforce current panhandling laws according to The City Attorney’s Office, which also cites a need based on the high volume of applicants.

Winston-Salem says more than 350 people have submitted panhandling applications since 2011 following license requirements that also include passing a criminal background check.

The city’s Public Safety Committee discussed the proposal for a second time this week but it ultimately needs approval from City Council.

City Attorney Angela Carmon says her office is working on final edits to the draft ordinance before it goes before committee for recommendation next month.

5 comments

  • Thomas Christopher

    Here’s a better idea….instead of giving them “ID’s”, how about giving them job applications to the many locations within walking distance of their begging spots? If they can stand in one area for hours on end in all kinds of weather, then surely they can at least find a minimum wage job (like I have) and work for a living instead of bumming from others. Go ahead and call me “insensitive”, but I sleep well at night with my $7.25/hour job, 20 minute commute each-way, and having NEVER received a dime in government entitlement programs or money from others.

  • MariaW

    Just curious as to who pays for the background checks that they have to have before getting a permit cause most employers do background checks before hiring someone. Its crazy. They are on every corner. Why can they not get government help, its apparent that some of them may genuinely need it where as others are just too lazy to go out and find a job. I agree with giving them job applications, heck they are already having a background check done just to pan handle and and thats not even a real job.

  • Will Grant

    It would be easier to have “bum” tattooed to their foreheads if you want the truth on the matter.

  • Howard Messer

    How about something easy? Just make it against the law to panhandle at intersections? At my office near Silas Creek Pkwy, we have had the same 5 “bums” panhandling at our intersection for the past 2 YEARS!

    What’s funny is that they work in ‘shifts’, usually 2-3 of them at a time for about 5 hours – they get picked up and dropped off in the nearby shopping center parking lot by a nice looking white, late model Buick – driven by one of the ‘off-duty’ “bums”. ….all while holding signs that proclaim “Homeless” or “Lost Job” and all of the other hard luck, weepy stuff you’d expect to find on a sign.

    Instead of the City/County having to manage this unattractive mess – why not just outlaw it and clean up our city?

    After all, if these people really WANTED help to get off the street corners, it IS readily available.

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