Scottsdale urges individuals to donate to larger organizations as panhandling is on the rise

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (FOX 10) - It's a growing problem across the nation and hitting home right here in the Valley. Homelessness - and with that comes panhandling. One Valley city has come up with a unique way to help curb giving to individuals - and encourage donating to larger organizations.

Darrin Cady says he's been homeless for 20 years after a stint in the army. He lives his life one to two dollars at a time - panhandling in Scottsdale to try and pay insurance for the car he lives in.

"These things here, I don't mind [them] so much, [you] know, little competitions what I think," Cady said. "20s are kind [of] rare these days, but mostly a dollar or two dollars."

Friday was the first day the city of Scottsdale put up signs to enocurage drivers to give to support agfenices and not panhandlers. The signage reads "It's OK to say no" and Cady says he gets it.

"I understand their position," said Cady. "I think they think only drug users are out here and stuff like that - it's not true."

The city says the number of panhandlers at certain intersections is a safety hazard.

"We've had a growing number of complaints at city hall about panhandling in consistent locations," said City of Scottsdale Spokesperson Kelly Corsette. "And we decided to see if we could change some behavior."

But the signs are offensive to people like Timothy out on the streets. He's been panhandling for about a year.

"They came out here and put [the signs] out at 4 o'clock this morning," Timothy said. "It's not illegal - this is the sidewalk. What I do on my little sign is protected speech.

It's only day one and now it'll come down to whether people actually pay attention to the signs.

"There's some people that do deserve money," Timothy said. "But I think al ot of people are wanting handouts."

"I don't give to them," said Judy Orth. "And I usually tell them to get out of my face because you're enabling them."

"Is this supposed to deter us from doing it here?" Cady asked. "I had one guy come by here on the sidewalk said said, 'I think I might help [you].'"