Home Uncategorized Local veteran wants to end panhandling in Lamar County by helping those in need

Local veteran wants to end panhandling in Lamar County by helping those in need

by MyParisTexas

People have long held strong feelings about panhandling. Some people choose to never give to a stranger on the street while others give when they see someone in need or a certain sign that tugs on their heartstrings. Either way, the debate over panhandling in Paris, Texas, has grown in recent months and locals are torn on the subject.

While homelessness is a real thing, some question the validity of some of the men and women they see on street corners. Perhaps, some have been “scammed” by someone claiming to be homeless while others know there are resources available and vow to help those in need.

Local veteran Jeremy Ellis, who completed two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, says he wants to help.

“I’ve been homeless as a child and come close as an adult. It’s not easy and I completely understand where these guys are at in life,” said Ellis.

However, it was the trash Ellis noticed around the underpass of Loop 286 and Lamar Avenue that promoted action.

“We decided to go down there and clean all the trash up,” said Ellis. “After we cleaned up that intersection we went over to North Main and in total have removed nine 55 gallon bags worth of trash.”

While Ellis has received backlash (even threats) for taking a stand against panhandlers, many in Lamar County are standing behind the veteran with almost 400 signatures on a petition created to end panhandling in 24-hours.

“It’s not fair to the communities that make good decisions and work hard to have to deal with the trash and folks lying to them.”

Chief of Police Bob Hundley says while his patrol officers watch the frequented spots for panhandling, there is no law against it.

“As long as these individuals are not standing in the roadway itself, they are not violating a law,” explained Hundley. “Paris does not have an ordinance regarding panhandling or location where it can take place at.”

While the petition might show support for the ban of panhandling in Paris, City Attorney Stephanie Harris explained cities who have enacted these laws have faced constitutional challenges.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has put significant barriers in the way of panhandling ordinances that is protected by free speech,” said Harris.

However, there are laws in place to protect the public.

“There are laws in place for any unwanted touching of a person such as assault and disorderly conduct if any obscene words tend to create a disturbance,” said Hundley.

When it comes to littering, Hundley says they need proof.

“People would think these persons asking for assistance are the ones providing the litter at these locations, but we have to be able to prove they are the ones.”

While it seems everyone’s hands are tied when it comes to changing the law, Ellis says he will continue to help the men and women panhandling on street corners.

“Since we’ve started standing down there with the panhandlers and cleaning it up we’ve actually been able to help a few of them,” said Ellis. “I actually prayed with one man this morning but not all of them are really homeless and are just taking advantage of people.”

Ellis believes taking a stand against panhandling in Paris will actually help those in need in the long run.

“I am a good guy and I want to help these folks and stop this panhandling nonsense,” he said.

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Sue Gray January 14, 2019 - 9:53 pm

I am won’t Mr. Ellis. If these people are really in need there is help out there.

LYNDA STEEL January 14, 2019 - 10:05 pm

I live in Phoenix, Arizona. Panhandling in a big problem here. Some of these people stand on street corners. Others harass people in store parking lots. As a older female this is terrifying. It should be against the law. We are not just dealing with the homeless but, also people who are drug addicts.

Linda Wear January 14, 2019 - 10:39 pm

Noticed how trashy and nasty it looked, glad it’s cleaned up. Thanks.

TammySpencer January 14, 2019 - 10:45 pm

I feel it is wrong to panhandle. This needs to stop.

Mark Francis January 14, 2019 - 10:54 pm

I have personally talked to almost every panhandler in town. I don’t think any of them in Paris Texas is a homeless veteran. I have given some of them rides from the seasons apts. In West Paris to find out how much they were making a day panhandling under the overpass and at Walmart. 80 to 150 a day was the average. the one by Paris lumber and Braums was handed 4 bags of burgers in less than 10 minutes while I watched. He moved over to Walmart gas station and had hungry sign wantingoney not food. I gave one a ride and he told me every drug and where to get it. I gave him a paint roller and a hat with paint on it and put paint on his shoes and pants to make people think he would work. I tried to hire him at 10 dollars and hour and he said he was doing much better panhandling and he loaned me 25 dollars so I could see the wad of cash in his billfold. His uncle was scamming in Walmart with a little girl saying that she needed money for medicine. He told me he got 300 from people there in one day. I told Walmart manager on duty but I saw him several times in the parking lot and in the store. I told everyone of them to get a bus ticket to Los Angeles the weather is better and panhandling pays much more there. Paris is not as rich and crazy as California. The grown men need to get a job. Don’t give them anything but a bus ticket to Sherman or Sulphur springs.

Candy Larkin January 15, 2019 - 1:43 am

Thank you so very much for what you have done cleaning up . Prayers it stays clean . Wish we had a big enough community to take a stand to the over whelming out of control Drug Infestation In Lamar Co . It’s ashamed it’s so bad and will get worse . Praying 🙏 it comes to a end one day because it’s affecting so many Families and Children and the Hard Working Class that has to worry about the Druggies stealing while your working. Praying everyday for a better community.

Shelley Webb Russell January 19, 2019 - 1:15 pm

Thank you for helping and caring for the poor and hurting in our local community!! You are building great riches in heaven! 🙌🏻
For me, it’s a modern day, good Samaritan story. It’s at the core of who we are truly serving and standing up for those who can’t advocate for themselves. Often, it helpful to give them a ride to connect them to our local agencies for help.
But in the mix, expect to be taken advantage of, in the process. It comes with the territory. But still your love and good deeds will be richly rewarded….but often not the way we expect.
I’ve been given lectures over my dedication to pick up and help hitch hikers. Many speeches and endless caution from well meaning people. But, for me, it’s a chance to help a person in need! How much better could it get as a Jesus follower! And I am completely comfortable with the fact that I could loose my life because of that conviction. But I would die with a heart full of love.
Through the years of my experience, I’ve meet wonderful people and a few that I wasn’t able to connect with but Jesus did not admonish us to only help the clean and upstanding around us. He challenged us to seek ways of reaching the poorest of the poor.
You may not agree with the path that Mother Theresa took but I found a deep sense of compassion in my soul growing when I read her book.
How we see others makes all the difference in the world!

When I lived in Houston, in the Camden apartments beside Lakewood church, I encountered them almost daily.
Even when I lived in Hawaii, there were droves of homeless people…desperately living in tents in the public parks with children. The community provided them wonderful showers and restrooms while figuring out new ways to assist them.
In summary, we live in a wonderful and relatively small community with so many amazing people. Let’s work to be loving and kind and keep our beautiful community a loving group!!

Thank you for reading.


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