Panhandlers cause concern for downtown shops
Some store owners are witnessing an increase in panhandlers hanging around Windsor's city centre.
They fear this is deterring people from coming downtown.
"Obviously no one wants to get bugged and asked every two seconds for 50 cents," said Ayad Saddy, co-owner of BB Branded on Ouellette Avenue.
One panhandler who sits on Ouellette Avenue with a large cardboard sign said he suffers from a disability and is also an alcoholic.
"I'm just out to try and make some money. I come out every day and I make enough for cigarettes," said Robert. "A little change here and there and I spread it around at the Salvation Army and down at the men's mission."
Robert said he collected $45 over a two-day period.
Joyce Zuk chairs the homeless coalition and said some people need to ask for change because the assistance they receive isn't enough.
"I guess the issue for us is we have to ask ourselves if we don't want to see folk panhandling in downtown Windsor are we perhaps prepared to look at raising those Ontario Works rates," said Zuk.
Zuk said the warm weather might be causing an increase in panhandlers. She added that panhandlers are usually need basics, like food and water.
Some business owners said Ouellette Avenue between Wyandotte Street and Riverside Side Drive is a popular place for panhandlers.
"It really stands out here because it's such a small city and there's so few places where they can be so they usually congregate always in the same places ... they're always around this area," said Renaldo Agostino, owner of the Boom Boom Room.
Robert receives $1,000 a month from disability assistance and plans to get off the streets and into an apartment because of the Salvation Army's help.
"I'm getting back on my feet," said Robert. "So hopefully I won't have to come back out and do this ever again."