More panhandlers seen on Longview streets

Posted by Morgan Chesky - bio | email

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

Motorists in Longview say they see more people standing on street corners begging for money or food, more commonly called pan-handling.

"I feel bad because I hate to see those many people out here on the street hungry or just needing something" says Longview motorist Kathy Geter.

Many out of work and many homeless, as many as 4 to 5 have been seen by motorists in areas like Eastman road and Estes parkway.

"A lot of times I'll give them a dollar or a couple of dollars if I have it" Geter says.

How some got here, they don't say, but before one young woman landed safely in house of hope, she was pregnant, homeless and panhandling.

"I started asking people when they would walk into the store for anything even from fifty cents to ten dollars whatever they could give me," says former homeless woman Ashlie Cain. "I had no place else to turn, there was a lot of people that would give to me some people I asked they were real rude"

But according to the city's panhandling-soliciting ordinance, they're not breaking the law.

"Just having a sign is not breaking the law or an ordinance unless they get in the roadway and encumber the roadway and jeopardize public safety and their safety" says Longview police sergeant Jack Lanier.

Why do they do it? Cain says for day to day survival, counting on the generosity of others.

"They're asking to do something to be able to eat" she says.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.