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As downtown continues to grow with new residents, office workers, and visitors, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance is committed to addressing important issues in downtown. According to recent surveys and feedback from the community, aggressive panhandling has become an issue of concern here in downtown. DRA is providing you with an update on the current ordinance for panhandling, guidance on what to do when faced with panhandling, and a list of resources for those who are struggling with poverty and other circumstances that may lead to panhandling. 


Panhandling ordinance

Click here to view the city’s panhandling ordinance.

No person shall beg or panhandle in the following areas:

- Within 20 feet of any bus stop, train station or taxi zone.

- Within 100 feet of any automated teller machine or any other machine at which money is dispensed to the public.

- Within 100 feet of the entrance to any financial institution which is open for business.

- Within 20 feet of any commercial establishment which is open for business.

- Within 20 feet of any duly permitted outdoor dining area during hours of operation.

- Within 20 feet of the entrance to any residence or residential building.


Panhandlers also will be in violation of the ordinance if:

- They are under the influence of drugs or alcohol

- Make threatening statements or use abusive language

- Beg in groups of three or more


Panhandling is allowed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.


What to do if faced with aggressive panhandling

Raleigh Police Department has provided the following guidance:

- Call 911 and alert authorities to where someone is aggressively panhandling in violation of the ordinance.

- Also, if you see a DRA Ambassador in a blue shirt, alert them to the situation and they will immediately call the police, help identify the aggressive panhandler, and report the situation.


Resources to help

In many situations, panhandlers are grappling with poverty, homelessness, or other issues. As such, the best long-term solution is to help these individuals find help and resources. In the downtown area, a number of nonprofits exist to help individuals get back on their feet. Please support these organizations through financial contributions, volunteering, and letting others know about their services. Wake County has provided a resources guide to help those who are homeless or struggling.

Raleigh Rescue Mission: Safe shelter with nourishing meals, counseling, medical care in an on-site medical clinic, substance abuse recovery services, educational, vocational and life skill classes in the on-site Adult Learning Center and childcare in on-site.

Oak City Outreach Center: Provides meals, hygiene kits, and other resources for those who are unstably housed or homeless in Wake County. Run by the Partnership to End Homelessness.

South Wilmington St. Center: Largest homeless shelter in the city.

Wren House (Haven House Services): Available to any youth age 10 – 17, with priority given to youth from Wake County and Raleigh.

Women’s Center of Wake County: Multi-service resource center, located near downtown Raleigh.

Urban Ministries: Providing basic needs – food, medicine, and shelter. Has a food pantry, shelter, and medical clinic.

Healing Transitions: (formerly Healing Place): Empowering people who are homeless and suffer from substance use issues transition to a fulfilling life.

Family Promise of Wake County: Services include emergency shelter, meals, life-skills training, case management provided by social workers, a day center, and transitional housing.

Passage Home: Offers affordable housing, afterschool programs, job training, education, and healthy eating.

Salvation Army of Wake County: Emergency shelter offering food pantry, soup lines, clothing, and kids programs.