Panhandling can be a polarizing topic. On one hand, you've got small businesses begging for help and on the other, you've got an empathetic enabler issue.

Did you ever wonder what those people on center medians holding up signs make for money?

What Is Panhandling?

The act of asking strangers for money.

Is Panhandling Illegal In Massachusetts?

No, unless it's deemed aggressive.

The Money

What are they using the money for, anyway? Shelter? Food? Drugs?

It's human nature to always presume the worst, right? Fact is, all three answers can be true.

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Pittsfield, Massachusetts interim Police Chief Tom Dawley sat down with "Slater & Marjo" to discuss a variety of topics including homeless people and panhandling.

The Anecdote

During the summer a couple of years ago, Dawley was asked for a bottle of water on a steamy July day by a local panhandler. What Dawley said next was what everyone is wondering, how much do panhandlers make asking for money?

I was in my cruiser and in uniform when I rolled my window down and asked this panhandler how he was doing when he asked me for a bottle of water.

Unfortunately I do not, but there is a Dunkin' right there and I can grab one for you, I said. We got to talking at the red light when I said, humor me, what do you guys make a day on average?

He said, "I make about $300".

He makes about three hundred dollars a day and he is asking me for a bottle of water. I assume he is asking me for a water because he doesn't want to leave his post because then someone else will grab it.

He said he was saving to get a motel room. -Tom Dawley, PPD.

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