Sioux City is starting a campaign to ask drivers to not donate to the homeless people who ask for money at some of the busiest intersections in the city.

Neighborhood Services Coordinator, Clara Mcfarlane-Coly says they are encouraging drivers to give the money to agencies that help the homeless.

“We encourage Sioux Citians to donate to local agencies instead of donating to panhandlers. We are not saying not to do that necessarily — but if folks are interested in donating to agencies that work with those individuals one-on-one for providing housing and that sort of thing — this is a great place to start

Neighborhood Services Manager, Jill Wandersheid says signs asking people to say no to panhandlers are being placed in the locations where they see this happening the most.

“The areas that we see the highest traffic that causes concerns of people stopping in the middle of traffic and things like that. To try and encourage them that there are other ways to give,” she says. It is not illegal to ask for a handout. Councilman Pete Groetken says he saw someone asking for money at a very busy intersection while standing on a median that was only about two feet wide.

He says somewhere between 17 and 20-thousand vehicles pass through the intersection on a daily basis. “It’s so easy for something to go wrong,” Groetken says.   The Sioux City Neighborhood Services Division began a homeless street outreach and rehousing program in 2019. They say they’ve served some 200 people in the last year.

Residents can make donations to the effort online at

(Photo and story by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)