The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Oak Park Discourages Panhandling by Offering Solutions Instead of Cash

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Nov 21, 2011 11:40PM

When the temperature drops and the holiday cheer rises, it becomes more difficult to pass by someone who is down on their luck without wanting to give them a buck. Or, if you're not the charitable type, it's annoying to ignore that ugly bum with a cardboard sign, who needs to get a job.

Either way, Oak Park wants to do something to decrease the number of people panhandling on their streets, but they don't want to be mean about it. Enter the "palm card," a card with information on Oak Park's services for homeless. The town hopes to pass these out to shoppers, who can give them to panhandlers in lieu of money. TribLocal writes:

Organizers said they want people to instead give money to charities that help the homeless instead of giving cash to panhandlers, who might spend it on alcohol or drugs. Zubak said they will soon be distributing cards to local businesses to give to shoppers. The cards will have contact information for local services — such as the PADS homeless shelter and the Walk-In Ministry at First United Church of Oak Park — and Zubak said people will hopefully give that to panhandlers instead of money.

At first we thought this was just a way for stuffy suburbanites to ignore social issues, but this is a different approach to making sure those in need know where to go to get help.