Collaborative panhandling campaign launched

Local leaders launched a strong message to the community Thursday: “Support panhandling, and you support, drug trafficking, crime and alcoholism.” This new informational campaign aims to direct resources to homeless service providers, rather than individual contributions to panhandlers.

Along with the campaign launch, an invite to communities throughout the state were extended to join. “This campaign is in your face and aggressive,” said Downtown Alliance executive director Jason Mathis. “We want to get people’s attention and let them know about the direct link between giving money to panhandlers and encouraging drug trafficking throughout the state, as this problem extends beyond Salt Lake City.”

Mayor Biskupski noted “The generosity of Utahns is something we are proud of, but this generosity needs to be directed in the right way, which is why we are asking people to give to service providers and not panhandlers.” To make it easier to donate funds, a text-to-give component is part of the campaign. Simply text “HELPSLC” to 77948. Online donations can also be made at

Window clings, billboards and 15-second PSA’s have been launched throughout the Wasatch Front this week.

The Downtown Alliance has raised $25,000 privately for this campaign, and seeks additional funding to broaden the message. Local movie theaters have agreed to air a 15-second PSA, and the Alliance is asking local TV stations and other news media to help share the campaign.