These New Downtown Sioux Falls Signs Are Raising Some Eyebrows
Sioux Falls is the biggest city in the state of South Dakota. So naturally, when something new appears in the downtown area everyone seems to notice. Parking meters always catch a lot of people's attention. Now, there also seems to be new signage along the streets in downtown Sioux Falls raising a lot of questions and concerns.
One of the first residents to notice these new signs is Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidate Taneeza Islam. She posted a picture of one of the new signs on her campaign Facebook page. Needless to say, it has prompted a conversation in the community.
The new downtown Sioux Falls sign states, "PANHANDLING: Say No To Panhandling. Contribute to the solution, give to local charities." Check out some comments made about the new panhandling signs in the city:
Brandon de Jong: Sioux Falls: let’s spend money putting up signs telling people not to give money to those in need. Did the city contribute to the solution in any way?
Amanda Loy: Should be our choice if we want to give money to someone that looks like they need it.
Cathi Scheel Abraham: I will continue to give money to a panhandler because I have been there and I know how hard it is to be homeless...anyone who judges these people should look in the mirror because if this happened to them they would not be so quick to judge...besides not every panhandler is out there trying to get booze or drugs...and if they are then who are you to judge? Don't condemn someone because you have it better than they do!!!
These signs are basically encouraging residents to send their money to local charities instead of giving it to a person panhandling on the streets. This sign in the picture did not sit well with Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidate Taneeza Islam.
In Tanezza's Facebook post, she tells a story about a time when she went to Target on the east side of town. She came across a single mom with a baby in arms holding a sign that said, "Help for food." Instead of ignoring the woman, she helped.
I turned the car around and went back. I got out of my car and asked her what happened. She explained that her husband kicked her and their baby out of the house and she had no one in the community to go to. She didn't know about domestic abuse. She didn't know about shelters who take in women and children like her. I gave her cash for a taxi to Children's Inn and an Applebee's gift card.
In Tanezza's eyes, these signs in Downtown Sioux Falls are shaming those who are living on the streets. Tannezza explained, "I will tackle the symptom of panhandling at its systemic root - affordable housing, accessible mental health and substance abuse treatment and reinvest funds into essential services. Not rely solely on the resource deprived nonprofit sector."
According to a previous story from our partners at Dakota News Now, the Sioux Falls Police Department notes that panhandling is not illegal in the city. However, it has become more of an issue over the last number of years.
It truly breaks my heart to see people living on the streets. I would only hope that able individuals throughout the city are willing to help those in need whether it's giving them resources in our community or a little money. In the end, the choice is yours on how you want to help.
Would you give money to a panhandler in Sioux Falls?