Hailey Eldershaw says police have told her she will be charged if she continues to panhandle
A panhandler in downtown Charlottetown says she’s been warned that she’ll be charged if she continues to solicit money on the streets of the capital city.
Hailey Eldershaw, 23, said she received a warning from Charlottetown Police Services for violating the ban on panhandlers.
“They are planning to charge me if they see me protesting
again,’’ Eldershaw said. “My warning states that I am in violation of the (City of Charlottetown’s) nuisance bylaw, when I
did no such thing.’’
Eldershaw, who suffers from depression, lost her job at a call centre.
“Since then, I’ve lost my apartment, and welfare won’t assist you without a permanent address. I had to be told by someone on the street about intent to rent forms, but they capped me at $360. You can’t even find a room in Charlottetown for under $400.’’
Eldershaw said she decided to approach the media after stories circulated this year about a panhandler who chased down a tourist in an attempt to get money.
“It’s not like I enjoy panhandling. It’s a means to an end. It’s a way to survive, so I depend on the kindness of the people of Charlottetown.’’ Hailey Eldershaw
Eldershaw said she has never harassed anyone and never obstructs traffic. She doesn’t ask for money and doesn’t talk to people unless spoken to.
As for whether other panhandlers have been issued warnings, The Guardian asked the City of Charlottetown for comment and was referred to the city police department, which hasn’t returned this newspaper’s calls or emails over the past two days.
“It’s not like I enjoy panhandling. It’s a means to an end. It’s a way to survive, so I depend on the kindness of the people of Charlottetown.’’
The city’s nuisance bylaw prohibits a person from making “continued requests or solicitations after receiving a negative response from another person’’ and indicates that “no person shall solicit on a street, sidewalk or other public place within five metres of what is considered a captive audience’’.
Eldershaw said she can’t turn to Anderson House for abused women or Lacey House, which is for recovering addicts, because she doesn’t fit into either category.
“There’s been nights when I’ve had to sleep outside, and there’s no homeless shelters for women in Charlottetown. If the city doesn’t want to help us, why are they trying to take away the people that do? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.’’
While The Guardian was interviewing Eldershaw, a man walked up to her, gave her a hug and handed her a bag of candy. The two know each other from Eldershaw’s days on the streets.
“She’s a good little girl, never bothers anybody,’’ the man said.
Eldershaw hopes her days on the street are numbered.
“I feel if I had the help I would be able to pull my life together. I feel like I could be a contributing part of society.’’
Hailey Eldershaw, a panhandler in downtown Charlottetown, said police have threatened to charge her if she keeps panhandling in the downtown. Eldershaw says she never bothers anyone and keeps to herself, relying on the goodwill of those who pass by.