The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed county staff yesterday (Tuesday) to study potential safety risks when people ask for help on street medians, following concerns from the public.
A memo will be delivered to the board by July 31 from a group of county staff, including representatives from the Fairfax County Police Department, the county’s transportation department, the Office of the County Attorney, and the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness.
Staff will include data-driven analyses about “whether or not there is a specific safety risk related to or stemming from panhandling” and recommend solutions if necessary, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said during a board meeting yesterday.
In a newsletter, McKay reiterated the county’s advice against donating to individual recipients, instead suggesting people give money to nonprofits that provide support services for those individuals.
During the board meeting, McKay added that passersby could also share their generosity in other ways to help people.
“We know that many of the people who are panhandling are not homeless individuals but rather are preying on the extraordinary generosity of our residents in Fairfax County,” McKay said.
He further recommended that motorists give people a piece of paper that lists available resources, such as social service centers.
“Small gifts of cash do not solve the issue of panhandling, but further exacerbate the matter,” McKay said in the newsletter.
McKay acknowledged that courts have ruled in favor of people asking for money on public property due to the First Amendment and that free speech must be protected. But he says he’s increasingly concerned about safety for all.
The move led to quarreling between McKay and Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, who said he’s been trying to get the board to address the issue for years.
In a newsletter, Herrity said county staff previously collected data and identified over 40 panhandling spots “where there is a public safety issue.”
Led by Herrity and then-Braddock District Supervisor John Cook, the county board directed staff to draft an ordinance disincentivizing panhandling in 2019. Later that year, the board considered putting up anti-panhandling signs, but that effort never came to fruition.
“For us to move forward so far only to start back at square one is a disservice to our residents and to every motorist and panhandler whose life is in danger in our medians each day we delay,” Herrity said in a statement. “We live in an increasingly urban suburb with very busy intersections where it isn’t safe for anyone to be interacting with motorists.”
Despite that statement, Herrity said he is fine with public safety groups using medians and intersections to conduct donations, as in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s “Fill the Boot” campaigns, which support the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Officials noted that private property owners, such as malls, can restrict people from asking for donations.
Photo via Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department
Good Friday evening! Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 6621 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
Lake Anne’s plaza will once again spring to life this summer with concerts. Lake Anne Live! — an event series that kicked off last year — brings Thursday evening concerts…
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Are you ready for summer? Live Fairfax has a bucket list of indoor activities, outdoor escapades and trips to explore this summer.
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road