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Panhandling is not safe and does not help solve homelessness, nor does it make it go away. To help effectively respond to homelessness, consider instead contributing to the organizations listed below. To learn more about the complex challenges surrounding homelessness, and to be part of a community wide response, please contact us at HomelessOutreach@issaquahwa.gov and check out our Homeless Outreach Dashboard.
Panhandling does not help solve homelessness. People need long-term support to begin moving out of homelessness: connection to services, treatment, housing, employment, educational and social support programs. Short-term, immediate services are in place to help with immediate needs, such as food, warm meals, and basic services. Learn more about resources available locally and regionally here.
Panhandling is not safe. Panhandling puts people’s lives at risk, can cause distracted drivers and dangerous intersections.
Panhandling has a significant environmental impact and contributes to trash pollution. Leftover food and packaging increase the trash in our environment, from streets, to parks and water. Although well intentioned, the items given out to panhandlers increase the amount of stuff they need to carry around, causing for trash to be left behind instead. Refer people to available services instead and consider volunteering in the community with one of our human services partners, or help with parks and trails stewardship.
Panhandling does not make homelessness go away. People panhandle at intersections, along roads, and even in shopping centers because other people give them cash. This perpetuates the problem and in time, it makes it worse. Offering cash does not help a person exit homelessness, rather inadvertently conditions the person to return the next day and revalidates the unspoken message that they need to rely on others for survival. People need social support, skills, hope and accountability to succeed. To learn more about homelessness, please consider reading some of the research articles below:
- Sage Journals- The Annals of the American Academy of the Political and Social Science, 2021, How to Address Homelessness: Reflections from Research , by Katherine M. O’Regan, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Sophie House.
- The Annual Review of Public Health, 2019, Solving Homelessness from a Complex Systems Perspective: Insights for Prevention Responses, Patrick J. Fowler, Peter S. Hovmand, Katherine E. Marcal, and Sanmay Das.
- BJPsych Bulletin, 2020, Homelessness, housing instability and mental health: making the connections, Deborah K. Padgett
Make a difference by donating to social service organizations that directly help community members experiencing homelessness in Issaquah.
Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank is committed to providing quality food, clothing, hygiene items and case management resources to anyone in need. The services offered include case management services, youth feeding programs, "Groceries to Go" food delivery program, holiday gift programs, school supplies, toiletries and more to local families and individuals in need of a helping hand. Donate to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.
Issaquah Meals program is a volunteer coordinated program through Catholic Community Services providing weeknight meals. The program is located at the Community Hall and provides a safe and welcoming atmosphere for guests and volunteers. Donate to the Issaquah Meals Program.
Congregation for the Homeless is a men’s shelter located in Bellevue that provides a safe, welcoming, resource-rich environment 24 hours a day, every day of the year for men experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives and obtain stable income and housing. Donate to the Congregation for the Homeless.
Friends of Youth is dedicated to serving youth and young families facing circumstances of homelessness, foster care and behavioral health challenges. The Landing is a shelter located in Redmond for young adults and Youth Haven is an emergency shelter and transitional living for youth ages 7-17. Donate to Friends of Youth.
Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services is a low-barrier congregate shelter for adults experiencing homelessness providing emergency shelter, social services and connections to permeant housing. Donate to the Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Service.
The Sophia Way is a place of hope and change for women East King County. The organization supports them on their journey from homelessness to safe and stable living. Shelters are located in Kirkland (Helen’s Place is open 24/7/365) and Bellevue (Sophia’s Place is an extended-stay shelter for 21 women for six months). Donate to The Sophia Way.