Panhandling and begging out of control?

Panhandling and begging out of control?
YAKIMA, Wash.-- It's a problem that's getting out of control; at least that's what the city of Yakima is saying. Panhandlers and beggars can be found all over town.

"I know this image is bad, but in our hearts it's not truly bad, it's a necessity," said Fred, a beggar in Yakima. "It's not whether we want to or not, it's not a choice."

Fred has been panhandling for months. This weekend he stood with another man that's done it for 8 years.

KIMA asked Fred, "what do you do everyday to be able to get by?"
"Sometimes we shower, sometimes we don't," he answered. "Sometimes we eat, sometimes we don't."

When KIMA previewed this story on the Action News facebook page, a few of you had responses. Tami said "We all get hungry... That's why we work."

Fred agreed.

"If we did have jobs, that would improve the cities image," he said.

The city is taking action themselves. A public hearing is set for this Tuesday, June 18th to consider changing regulations to panhandling.

Action News viewer Debbie commented on our facebook about the meeting. She said "Good, it's about time they change it."

Speakers will be there to share their experience of being near beggars, in some cases, feeling unsafe, in hopes they get off the streets. Fred told me he would already be off the street if he could find a job.

"There should be more jobs available for the homeless," Fred said. "That's why we're here. Otherwise we would not be here."

The final decision will not be made at the hearing. It's the first time the city of Yakima is meeting about these regulations since spring of 2010.