Holyoke City Council considering new penalties for panhandling

The city council will vote Tuesday night

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke City Council could soon adopt a state law to deal with aggressive panhandling and ticket scalping.

Under the proposal, any person who signals or stops vehicles on a public way to ask for money could face a $50 fine.

I-Team: Panhandler population growing

One resident told 22News, that fine could be harsh for someone dealing with financial hardship.

“If it’s somebody who is doing it out of the fact that they are homeless, it’s a lot yes,” said Hector Marquez of Holyoke. “But if they are doing it strategically, no.”

Holyoke’s Ordinance Committee recommended the city adopt the state law, or begin enforcing it if they determine adopting it is not needed. Even with a $50 fine, people said you would still find people asking for money on the sides of the road in Holyoke.

Panhandlers becoming a problem in Holyoke

“I don’t think it would,” said Onyx Acevedo of Holyoke. “Cause still, there’s a lot of people that still know, there’s a lot of people that still ask cause they really do need it, and then there’s people that don’t need it, but they tend to abuse that.”

The city council is set to vote whether to adopt “Section 17-A” of the Massachusetts State Law Tuesday night.