Spokane's city council is revving up its efforts to get rid of panhandling and the problems that follow the flow of easy money.
Experts say it's Downtown Spokane that pays the price when people open their wallets to panhandlers, including the 26,000 folks who work downtown and the 5,000 people who live there.
1,300 hundred businesses deal with the after effects of panhandling when those handouts fund public intoxication and the litter and sanitary issues that come with alcohol.
A couple of years ago, a KXLY crew made 36 bucks in just one hour doing some undercover panhandling. While it's very nice people are so generous, the city council would like you to reconsider they way you go about doing your good deeds.
Today council members detailed their multi-prong approach for taming some of the wild-child behavior we've seen this summer.
One ordinance the council won't vote on is a controversial anti-loitering law that still needs to be balanced with civil liberties.
Councilman Steve Salvatori is equally concerned with the rights of downtown business owners.
"So when we have a business that closes because they have lost control of their sidewalk, a sidewalk they have to shovel when it snows, a sidewalk they're responsible and liable for if there any cracks or any other problems with it, we have to remember the primary purpose of a sidewalk is for walk and for movement," said Salvatori.
The council has come to realize that there wouldn't be so much loitering if it wasn't so lucrative. So now they want cut off the flow of easy panhandling money so street kids and the homeless would be more willing to accept the services that could get them off the streets.
"There are organizations out there that are really invested in helping people to transition to a better place. Those folks that are in genuine need that are indeed homeless or that are without services as a youth," said Mark Richard of Downtown Spokane Partnership.
And the council wants to make sure those organizations have enough money to provide those services. So instead of giving in to panhandlers, they want you to give your money to local shelters.
"If you are giving the dollar out the window or you really think you are helping someone, you are actually trapping them in their current existence," said Spokane City Councilman Mike Allen.
"I would contend the most successful vehicle is to have the public stop giving them the money in the first place. The reason they are there is because it's working. We need to educate the public so that it stops working," said Richard.
So now council members and downtown businesses are starting up a "don't give money to panhandlers" campaign.
When it comes to handouts here in the downtown area, city hall thinks you nice people out there are generous to a fault.