Every year the Fairfax County Police Department receives hundreds of calls related to panhandling. The calls range from traffic issues to safety concerns for the individual panhandling to fears about a suspicious person at an intersection.
Panhandling can be found in most areas of our county. While we may get a good feeling by providing money to directly to someone in need, the reality is that people in need require more resources than small amounts of money.
Asking for money in public areas, including roadway medians, is not a violation of law.
The good news is that our county has many services and staff dedicated to help those in need, but we need your help:
We encourage you to not give money to individual panhandling.
Why? Because giving money to panhandlers encourages more panhandling. Because donations of cash will not help solve the underlying reasons why someone panhandles.
What Can You Do?
- Refer individuals soliciting money – or anyone who may be in need – to our county’s social services programs. We have a wide-range of services and housing resources. Provide them with this human services hotline phone number: 703-222-0880.
- You can also make copies of this handout with information on where and how to obtain critical services, including food and shelter. Have a few copies in your car to give out when you come across a person soliciting money.
- Consider making a donation or volunteering for one of our nonprofit community partners dedicated to assisting our residents in need.