More panhandlers in Pueblo

City leaders say homeless are moving south

More Panhandlers in Pueblo

PUEBLO, Colo. - Colorado Springs city leaders tried banning panhandling downtown, but a judge found it to be unconstitutional. Even so, Pueblo city leaders say some of the homeless population from Colorado Springs is moving south. It's adding to a growing list of panhandlers in Pueblo.

Some panhandlers say they can make up to $100 a day. It's no surprise many homeless people are inclined to panhandle when they're making that kind of money.

"Panhandling to me has become an art. Knowing how to ask for it. Knowing when to ask for it and what businesses to hang out in front of," said Michael Lillie. He was homeless for several years, living on the streets of Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Now, he's working on cleaning up his life. He works at Wayside Cross Gospel Rescue Mission, helping dozens of homeless people going through struggles he knows too well.

Greg Coolidge, executive director of the rescue mission, said, "With the economy going down, there's gonna be a greater increase in the homeless population and with the greater homeless population you're gonna have a percentage of those who are gonna have a boldness to go out and just say I've gotta survive and they're gonna ask and beg to get what they need."

While most homeless people at the shelter won't admit to it, Pastor Greg says all the people who come through his shelter have asked for money at some point.

"If we can't help each other, who's going to help us?" Lillie said.

Pastor Greg says if a homeless person asks you for money, refer them to a local homeless shelter and donate money to the shelter so you know where the money's going.

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