SEVIERVILLE, TN – The City of Sevierville has established a new ordinance designed to encourage residents or visitors to refer persons in need to local organizations for help and to discourage illegal soliciting/panhandling. There are numerous social service agencies in Sevier County and the surrounding area that can assist persons and families in need for shelter, food, medical care, transportation, and job seeking. Some of these agencies are listed below.

Sevier County Family Resource Center: 865-428-7999 sevierfamilyresource@yahoo.com
Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries: 865-908-3153

SHELTER
TN Coalition for the Homeless 1-888-556-0791

FOOD
Sevier County Food Ministries 865-428-5182
Sevier County Health Dept. (WIC) 865-453-1032
TN Dept. of Human Services (Food Stamps) 865-429-7005

HOUSING
Samaritan Place 865-684-1880
Eastgate Homes 865-453-8500
Gateway Village 865-453-1729

TRANSPORTATION
East TN Human Resource Agency (ETHRA) 865-244-1700

Giving to panhandlers may seem like a good thing, say Sevierville City staff members, but just handing money to strangers, especially from car windows in high traffic areas, can cause accidents.

· Giving panhandlers money may discourage them from finding a long term solution to their difficulties.
· Panhandling can cause pedestrian and traffic safety issues
· Panhandling often makes pedestrians and motorists concerned for their safety.
· Panhandlers sometimes buy alcohol and/or drugs with the money you give.
· When confronted by a panhandler, the best thing to do is politely decline and continue on your way.
· Social service agencies are available to help persons who are in need of food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and employment.

ORDINANCE SUMMARY

It is unlawful for any person to solicit money or other things of value in ANY of the following circumstances:

· After sunset and before sunrise
· By repeatedly asking a person
· Using abusive language or profanity
· In an aggressive manner
· In City owned parking lots/garages
· From motorists
· By falsely representing why they want money
· Or within 20 feet of:
-A crosswalk or intersection
-Any entrance/exit of any bank or check cashing business or ATM
-Public restrooms or bus stops
-Pay phones
-Sidewalk café/outdoor eating area.

Residents or visitors that witness illegal soliciting or panhandling, may call the Sevierville Police Department at 865-453-5506.