Signs installed in Cookeville to discourage motorists from giving cash to panhandlers

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Courtesy: City of Cookeville TN – Ricky Shelton, Mayor

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The City of Cookeville began installing signs to discourage motorists from giving money to panhandlers.

According to a Facebook post from Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, the process began this week. Shelton said while they want to help those in need, the act of giving cash to panhandlers encourages an “undesirable and dangerous situation.”

Rather than give cash to panhandlers, Shelton suggested supporting a local charitable organization whose mission is to help the less fortunate.

Shelton posted the following statement:

“Panhandling and homelessness continue to be a growing issue here and across the country. The City Council, City Administration and Police Department receive complaints on a frequent basis, oftentimes with the assumption that the City is doing nothing to address the problem. I want to take this opportunity to share what the City has done and continues to do.”

Mayor Ricky Shelton

In September of 2020, Cookeville created an agreement for services with the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency’s Substance Abuse Solutions program. This was in an effort to create a social work and police partnership. Over the last ten months, 201 people in the city were provided with some type of assistance through the program.

Citizens can call the City Administration at 931 526-9591 or the Cookeville Police Department at 931 526-2125.

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