Region 8 News investigates: Panhandlers; story behind the sign

(KAIT) - It seems like you will see one everywhere you look; people with a sign in hand begging for help.

"You know as your city grows, these issues grow," John Shipman with the Jonesboro Police Department said. "As long as they're not on private property, law enforcement can't enforce anything with it,"

Through his work with the Jonesboro HUB, Officer Shipman's seen a lot.

"Right now, I'm a little surprised that we're not seeing any more than what we are," Shipman said. "You know, unfortunately, there are people who make a living like this and then the end result... why is it that they're making a living like this? Is this the best ability that they have?"

We first met Danny Pierce hold a sign at the Walmart on Parker Road in Jonesboro.

While Danny sat in the hot sun, multiple cars stopped to people give him either money or groceries.

Eventually, he collected his things and met by a man in a white truck, who then drove him to the Paragould Walmart.

After more than 8 hours of panhandling, Danny called it a day.

We followed him back to a motel and confronted him.

"If I could get my disability, I wouldn't be out on the streets because this is a pitiful life I live every day wondering where… I've slept in grass," Danny Pierce said.

He showed us his pacemaker scar and said he used to work at Hytrol before he fell on hard times.

"I just want a normal life because there's people out here that chooses to be homeless," Pierce said. "I have met them. I've been there, done that."

It has been his reality for over a year.

Pierce took us inside his motel room, which he is calling "home" at least for now.

"Sunday night, this being my last night here, I'll ugh…" Pierce said.

Honestly, he was not sure where he would be after Sunday.

"There are some homeless people out there that I have met are good people," Pierce said. "It's just other people don't take the time to sit down and hear their story, and I'm so proud that y'all are here to hear my story. I'm not asking to get rich. I just want a home."

Danny said his biggest need is a vehicle.

Region 8 News is in contact with him and hope to get the resources he needs to get back on his feet.

If you would like to help the homeless, check out the organizations below:


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