New signs in downtown Greenville discourage giving to panhandlers

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–Amid the pandemic, downtown Greenville is moving back towards normal. But something that has remained the same are the problems on one corner of Main Street.

“You come in in the morning they’re sleeping on it, in the afternoon they’re sleeping on it,” Jason Satterfield, who owns Field House Jerky, Craft, and Wine, said.

He said the homeless problem is overwhelming.

“You have us, you have CVS, there’s a lot of people right on this corner and the reason they sit here is because they do get money,” Satterfield said.

He’s hoping the new signs will make a difference.

“We’ve been in conversation with the city around panhandling as far back as over a year ago,” Susan McLarty with the Greenville Homeless Alliance said.

She’s hoping the option to donate by scanning the signs will deter panhandling.

“When you choose to give through this QR code, it comes in through this alliance and it’s going out to a dozen different frontline providers,” McLarty said.

Those providers are in direct contact with the people who need help now. McLarty says this system helps more than just handing out your spare change.

“That may be what we can call a bandaid or meet a very immediate need, but it’s not going to fix and get to the root issue of what’s causing them to ask for the money,” she said.

She says there’s been an increase in panhandling since the start of the pandemic and the area around the Greenlink bus station seems to be a point of concentration.

“Because of the increased hours and because of COVID, they are seeing more people here that are experiencing homelessness and are living unsheltered,” McLarty.

Satterfield said he’s for the signs and would encourage people in downtown Greenville to stop giving to panhandlers.

“It would help move them to other corners and help me do better business,” Satterfield said.

The signs have been up for about a month now. The Greenville Homeless Alliance is still waiting to see how much of an impact they’ve made.

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