Acadiana is a compassionate community and many give money to people panhandling because they want to help. However, giving money to people who are panhandling can discourage them from seeking the services they may truly need. Additionally, many people who are panhandling go unidentified by our local homeless service organizations because they are not seeking help, they may not know about available resources, or they may not be in need
Everyone in Acadiana deserves to have a safe place to sleep at night, access to hygiene services, a warm meal, and health care. If you want to support individuals in finding the help they need, connect them to local homeless service organizations. To learn more about these organizations, visit
If you want to be more personally involved in helping people who are experiencing homelessness and hunger, find an organization of your choice, learn about the services they provide, ask them for a tour, become a volunteer, or give whatever you can, even if it is a small amount. By encouraging people who are panhandling to seek the help that they need, and supporting Acadiana’s homeless service organizations, you become a part of the solution.
If you are looking for specific ways to respond compassionately when asked for money, we offer the following suggestions:
Treat the person with respect
Making eye contact and speaking to the person seeking your help in a friendly and respectful manner, gives them a sense of dignity. Don’t just ignore someone who is clearly in need. By taking the time to speak to and treat people with kindness, you could be helping them feel less isolated and alone.
Don't give cash
Giving cash does not provide the person in need with a sustainable solution. Giving money or one meal provides temporary relief to what is often a chronic problem. This does not mean that you can’t help; it just means that cash isn’t the best answer.
Help them find resources
The next time someone asks you for money, suggest that they visit a local homeless service organization. Let them know that places offering shelter, food, and other services are free and close by. Not sure what organizations to suggest? Carry a few Homelessness Resource Guides with you. These cards list local homeless service providers that offer professional assistance. Homeless Resource Guides are availalbe at the 232-HELP office (1005 Jefferson St.) or can be printed at www.archacadiana.org.
Give to local organizations
Rather than give to one individual, invest in local homeless service organizations that make it their mission to comprehensively and holistically address homelessness. By supporting Acadiana’s homeless service organizations, you become a part of the solution. To learn more about Acadiana’s local homeless service providers, visit www.archacadiana.org/member-agencies. To donate to our organization click here.