ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany officials are working to curb a major problem of panhandling on Everett Road.
“It’s a little uncomfortable, a little bit of an awkward situation, a little weird,” said Younas Dawood who works next to the intersection.
Dawood said panhandling has gotten worse over the last couple years.
“You’ll see them fighting over who has which territory. And it just makes it difficult because with a lot of people and a lot of traffic, sometimes you’ll see them yelling at cars,” Dawood said.
Now, the City of Albany is seeking to curb panhandling by asking drivers to instead give money to a charity.
Previously, the Town of Colonie, which shares part of the road, proposed controversial fines to deter panhandling.
“Do not provide money or cash at those locations. Panhandlers come back because it makes economic sense for them to be there,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
Mayor Sheehan said police are patrolling the area to discourage panhandlers. The department’s neighborhood engagement unit is also providing information on where panhandlers can seek help.
“We have organizations that ensure that those types of services are provided to people, and that’s what we want to encourage people to fund,” Sheehan said.
Executive Director of Homeless and Travelers Aid Society Liz Hitt worked with the police department to put the sign up. The organization helps people in financial crisis.
“It may get worse, but we’re hoping through this campaign that it clamps down a bit because if people do stop giving people will not stand there,” Hitt said.