Texas Panhandlers Said to Make up to $70 an Hour

funny black boy with sign

I thought I heard the Joe Pags radio program say that San Antonio is proposing to outlaw panhandling at specific street and highway locations.

Cars will often stop in the middle of a busy street to give a panhandler money. That’s dangerous.

It turns out that many of the panhandlers are professionals who are far from homeless and broke. They are driven to good locations with cardboard signs in hand and then picked up later in the day.

Some of the local panhandlers I see have dogs. Others feature a whole family, including dirty, pathetically dressed children. Dogs and kids probably bring in more money.

None of that is covered in the linked story below about how Dallas is thinking about dealing with panhandlers.


DALLAS – The streets of Dallas are becoming hot spots for panhandling, according to police and some city leaders. Homeless service providers estimate some panhandlers are bringing in between $40 to $70 per hour on any given day.

That is why Dallas city council members say they want to take a serious look at some possible solutions.

A group called Neighborhood Plus is proposing a Panhandling Initiative that could use $100,000 from the City’s Housing and Community Services budget to get some homeless panhandlers off the streets through day labor.

Alan Sims, Chief of Neighborhood Plus, described how sub-contractors are operating the program successfully in cities like Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Vans go around, if you saw people on the streets, ask them if they wanted to go to work,” Sims said. “Put them to work doing different types of manual labor, and at the end of the day pay them.”

The two-pronged pilot program also suggests the city post signs in hot spots, encouraging panhandlers to call 311 for resources and discouraging the public from giving money to people on the streets.

Phase two could get the solid waste department to consider using a van to pick up panhandlers as day laborers. It could pay them about $9 an hour for projects like landscaping and garbage removal.

City Council Member Adam McGough voiced concern, at one point.

“I don’t have enough right now to say we need to go with step 1, step 2, step 3 and how we are doing it,” he said.

Foggy details about the group’s four months of research frustrated a couple of council members during the briefing. They wanted specifics about how successful the panhandling initiative has been in other cities. However, the presenters came up a bit short.

Council member Tiffinni Young criticized that team.

“We spent four months to do Google searches?,” she asked rhetorically. “We haven’t talked to anyone in any cities? We don’t know what’s working? We don’t know what’s not working…That’s a problem.”

All sides agree something needs to be done to crack down on panhandling. Moving forward the details are going to need some fine-tuning.

The City of Dallas reports responding to more than 550 service requests for panhandling since October of last year.

11 thoughts on “Texas Panhandlers Said to Make up to $70 an Hour

  1. Pingback: Texas Panhandlers Said to Make up to $70 an Hour | Afro Futurism

      • The USA is last of the great “panhandle” continents. High end characters loaded with street smarts and old school wisdom. I met a few in Livingston Montana last fall. They killed me. For a pack of Marlies and an IPA one fella gave me the complete history of the Local land grab between the Swedes and the Cattle ranchers–3 hours worth. Anyway, this reminds me of some films on the subject that some guys down south I know (BVS) have done. Enjoy…


  2. Hell, if people are gonna give em the money, I don’t blame em. I’ll sit around, fart, and eat jelly beans for that money, I don’t have a lie to tell!!

    But you have to wonder, for the ones actually performing and arguably working for it, why do they not get more organized and try to pool their talents into something grander, more official and lasting? These peak seasons will be fleeting.

    • A college student I used to know organized a bad check ring. I always wondered why she had so much money. She had several people working for her–stole at least a $million worth of goods bought with bad checks. I guess this $70 an hour thing would be small potatoes to her. When caught, I think she did five years in the slammer. Later, she became a madam.

  3. Here is my slight variation to a quote above. My idea will work. The one above will not work as explained by another commenter.

    ““Vans go around, if you see people on the streets, ask them if they want to go to jail,” Sims said. “Put them to work doing different types of manual labor, and at the end of the day pay them nothing and warn them to stop panhandling.””

  4. My idea is to have a van loaded with some pan-handlers (armed with rubber truncheons paid by the city’s brilliant anti-pan-handling program. The van would drive around the city, and when they see a pan-handler, the van stops, they all get out and beat the sh*t out of the guy/gal, leave them in a bloody heap, and move on to the next one.

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