Warn­ing re­ceived

Hai­ley Elder­shaw says po­lice have told her she will be charged if she con­tin­ues to pan­han­dle

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART

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.

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