For the past few months, panhandlers in Sudbury — usually seen in the downtown area — have been spotted at major intersections in New Sudbury and the South End.

On a grocery store parking lot of Lorne Street, a young man stands on the median holding a cardboard sign that reads “broke and homeless.”

The man’s name is Adrian and he has been homeless for two months.

Adrian said, after being at the median for an hour, he’s collected $30.

He said Sudbury’s panhandlers are moving away from the downtown because they’re not getting as much money as they used to.

“Downtown’s really hard,” he said. “I think because people did it a lot down there, there’s a lot of panhandling … and people associate downtown with drugs.”

Sudbury panhandler

A woman is seen panhandling on the Kingsway in Sudbury. Police say though panhandling is illegal, handing out tickets is often a last resort. (Erik White/CBC)

The executive director of the Samaritan Centre in Sudbury said the spread of panhandlers is a sign of the growing gap between rich and poor in the city.

“The good side, if there is one, is that people will realize that there’s an increasing population of people who need to support themselves in that way,” Kevin Serviss said.

‘Last resort’

Police Inspector Bob Keetch said officers have responded to complaints about panhandlers at intersection.

Panhandling at an intersection, or in front of a bank, is in violation of the Safe Streets Act, commonly known as the Squeegee Kid Law, which was passed in 1999.

But Keetch said there’s not much point in handing out fines.

“You know, the ticket would only compound the circumstance that lead them soliciting at these locations,” he said. “So that’s kind of a last resort for us.”

Keetch said Sudbury Police are concerned for the safety of panhandlers and drivers at intersections, and encourage homeless people to ask for money elsewhere.