Local businesses take stand against panhandlers

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Several Oildale businesses are taking a stand against panhandlers, posting signs asking customers to stop giving them money.

An annual homeless count by the Kern County Homeless Collaborative released last month, showed a 46 percent increase in the homeless population in metro Bakersfield. Many are noticing that increase.

In response, at least three Oildale gas stations have posted signs outside their stores with signs that read, “we kindly ask that you say no to panhandlers.”

It’s not just business owners taking note of this apparent increase in the homeless population. 

“It’s evident all over town, not just in Oildale, but clearly there is an increase in homelessness in Oildale, or at least those we perceive are homeless,” 3rd District Supervisor Mike Maggard said.

Maggard added not everyone asking for money is really in need.

“One group of them I think are seriously destitute people who have mental health issues and things like that,” Maggard said. “There’s a second group that are just panhandlers and they are only there abusing the public asking them for money and we are only enabling them by giving them money or food.”

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