Help those that are homeless and afflicted by poverty.

Don't support panhandling!


Homelessness and poverty are a present issue in Columbus that is prevalent in all areas of the city. There are approximately 12,325 homeless in Ohio, 1,488 of which live in Columbus. 16.3% of Ohioans fall below the poverty level. There is a clear need for change, and you can assist in facilitating that need!

By choosing to donate time and money to one of these organizations instead of giving monetary donations, you can make a greater difference. When you give to panhandlers, while a compassionate act, doesn’t address the many potential underlying causes of poverty and homelessness. The organizations listed are designed to help those in need build the assets and skill sets so that there is no longer a need to depend on donations from individuals on the street. Please consider this before you give to panhandlers!

The University District supports the following organizations. Do your part and donate directly to their causes or donate your time as a volunteer.


United Way:

Mid Ohio Food Bank:

NNEMAP Food Pantry:

Columbus Coalition for the Homeless:

Coalition for Homelessness and Housing in Ohio:

Neighborhood Services Inc.:

Godman Guild:

Huckleberry House:


aggressive panhandling is illegal

According to City of Columbus Code, panhandling may not occur:

  • Within 25 feet of a bank entrance
  • Within 25 feet of an ATM
  • Within 25 feet of an outdoor patio
  • At a bus stop or shelter
  • Within 10 feet of a parking meter or for-pay parking lot
  • At night

If you witness any of these activities, dial the Columbus Police Department Non-Emergency number at 614-645-4545.

Non-aggressive panhandling, not violating any of the above laws, may be bothersome but is legal behavior.

If a panhandler becomes aggressive or makes physical contact with someone, dial 911 immediately.


tips for responding to panhandlers

  • Walk briskly and confidently - don't stop
  • Politely say "no" or "sorry"
  • Do not follow a person if asked
  • Call 911 if you feel threatened