Panhandling requires 'balanced' approach

The Sun's recent editorial ("Putting down panhandlers,and Dan Rodricks' column regarding panhandling ("Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety," Oct. 24) underscored the need for a balanced approach to the problem which, in fact, has been pursued in Anne Arundel County.

Legislation prohibiting individuals from standing in highway right-of-ways to solicit money or donations of any kind from the occupant of a vehicle was successfully sought in Anne Arundel County and our county residents are pleased that the ban on roadside solicitations has resulted in the virtual elimination of this public safety hazard from our streets and highways.

At the same time, the county has energetically promoted our Homeless Resource Days since 2008 to provide short and long-term services to the homeless of the county at one central location. More than 3,000 individuals have received assistance over the years.

The county has received federal grant money to help homeless residents find permanent housing as well as mental health services.

Ridding county roads of panhandlers and offering assistance to our most needy residents have gone hand-in-hand in Anne Arundel County.

John R. Leopold, Pasadena

The writer is a former Anne Arundel County Executive.

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