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HPD Works To Address Panhandling Ahead Of Major Events

As the city prepares to host the NCAA South Regional Tournament this weekend at the NRG Stadium and the influx of visitors, the Houston Police Department is working to address safety for all, including panhandlers.


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Houston Police Department officers package food to distribute to panhandlers at the intersection of Buffalo Speedway and South Main Street.


Houston Police Department Office Mary Young
Houston Police Department Office Mary Young speaks about the plan to address panhandling ahead of major events like the NCAA South Regional tournament.

Officers set up tents at the intersection of Buffalo Speedway and South Main Street. They’re passing out juice, snacks and information about homeless services.

Located about a mile from NRG Stadium is a busy site for panhandlers. Houston Police Department Officer Mary Young says it gets even busier when high profile events like the Sweet 16 come to town.

“Remember, for every one that you see, there are about five or six others hiding out just waiting on their turn to go on the corner and ask,” Young says.

When there are no sidewalks present, many panhandlers take to the street, some weaving in between cars to ask for money. Young says visitors may be surprised to see them so close to the stadium.

But she says HPD’s efforts are not aimed at cleaning up Houston’s image. She says their priority is keeping panhandlers out of the roads and keeping drivers safe.

“I don’t think it’s a negative image because Houston is known for its giving,” she says. “I think it’s a huge traffic problem.”

Young says if you want to help, it’s best to give to a trusted charity that provides services to the homeless. 

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