Around 2 p.m. on Oct. 23, I was stopped at the stoplight on Kennedy Boulevard preparing to turn left on Veterans Avenue, and lo and behold, what do I see but another seemingly homeless individual sitting at the intersection, but this time with a walker, asking for money.
Every year, I see at least three or four different individuals from who knows where dressed in raggedy clothing at this intersection holding signs asking for money. Not only is this dangerous, illegal without a permit and unsightly for our community, it is a scam!
I have talked to many people and have seen for myself what these people are all about. They usually are not around for a day, but for a week. A motel owner in the vicinity said that many times they drive up in a car, paying cash to stay at the motel. A liquor store owner said that more than once during their stay, they buy alcohol from his store.
And lastly, I have seen and talked to other people who have seen one of these so-called destitute individuals drunk at one of the bars in town, bragging about how much money he received that day.
It seems as though these people run a circuit from town to town because you will see the same ones here year after year. Sometimes they will have a dog, a partner or a prop – this time a walker – to make you feel sorry for them.
The Vandalia Municipal Code states: “No person shall stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting contributions from the occupant of any vehicle except at intersections where all traffic is required to come to a full stop. The person must represent a soliciting agency which shall be registered with the attorney general as a charitable organization.”