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Myrtle Beach police discouraging aggressive panhandling through new ‘Safe Giving’ initiative

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 8:04 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department is planning to posts new signs across the city, encouraging people to say no to panhandling and instead participate in safe giving practices.

The United Way of Horry County is leading the new ‘Safe Giving’ initiative.

The organization’s president and CEO, Blakely Roof, said it was launched after the Myrtle Beach Police Department came to them expressing concerns about aggressive panhandling.

Roof said the police want to direct folks to a way to safely give funds to the homeless population.

Through Safe Giving, she said people can give money directly to local organizations that are part of the homeless initiative which include the following: New Directions of Horry County, Eastern Carolina Housing Association, Little River Medical Center, Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach, Sea Haven, Associated Charities, Habitat for Humanity of Horry County, and United Way of Horry County.

“Yes, some of them are feeding and giving shelter over their head which is totally another aspect of homelessness which is needed, but there are also programs out there that are really helping people get out of homelessness which starts with everything from IDs,” Roof said. “If you don’t have an ID you can’t do anything, you can’t get a job.”

Some people on the police department’s Facebook page have expressed their support for the initiative. While others question if this is discouraging people from giving to the homeless population.

Roof said this effort is in no way instructing people to not contribute to someone if they feel compelled to do it.

“Obviously, we’re not here to tell people not to give anywhere you feel your heart was led to give, Roof said. “If giving to someone out there that’s asking for money, if that’s what you want to do, that’s more than your right. We just wanted to give an option for people who want to do more or they want to know exactly where that money is going to then help someone further along than just that immediate need.”

The Myrtle Beach Area Homeless Coalition will meet this Thursday. They plan to talk about ways to educate the community on homelessness and their efforts to find solutions to this issue.

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