Do NOT give to the homeless…directly

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) — State and local officials say in the season of giving, don’t give to the homeless, at least not directly to panhandlers. They say there is a better way to donate.

The good intentions of people wanting to help the homeless may be doing more harm then good.
Lawmakers say giving to service providers is the better answer.

Larry Anderson sorts clothing donations for the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul in the Rio Grande district.

“Here is where we get all the donations and it goes where it needs to go.” 
The clothing room at the non-profit has the system down.

“A lot of times panhandling funds other things and I think we all know what that means,” said Anderson. 

“You might literally be killing the person your trying to help,” said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox. 

That’s why the Lt. Governor, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown and others are stressing, in the season of giving to not give money to the homeless, at least not directly to them.

“That money that you hand out to that panhandler right then and there on the street, that might be the dosage that ends up killing the person,” said Cox.

They don’t want to discourage giving, but give to the organizations that have a system of providing shelter, clothing and food. And maybe it’s not money but your lunch that you’re donating on the corner. Health officials say keep this in mind:

“That creates a litter and trash problem that has to be resolved,” said Gary Edwards with Salt Lake County Health Department. 

For the list of non-profits to donate to for the homeless go to

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