Woman says new Henrico panhandling law changed her life

Posted at 8:53 PM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-02 07:21:09-04

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) --  We last saw Kathy Maddy six months ago on the median at the intersection of Parham Road and West Broad in Henrico.

Maddy was homeless, unemployed and panhandling; she had been panhandling for nearly a year.

"Whatever I can get from the community helps me out," she told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George, at the time.

But then in a flash Maddy and other Henrico panhandlers were gone;  a direct result of a new ordinance issued by the Board of Supervisors banning panhandling in street medians.

County leaders said it was for the panhandlers' own safety.

Six months later we revisted Maddy to see what she was doing. Was she still panhandling?

"It has changed a lot now you know I am working," Maddy told St. George.

After the ordinance was issued Maddy said she didn't want to go to another jurisdiction to panhandle and was encouraged to look for work.

"I feel pretty good. I am not in no danger now working in street medians," Maddy said.

Maddy credits the Board of Supervisors as well as CBS 6 for encouraging her to get a job.

But she says not everyone has followed in her path.

She says most have gone to Richmond where many in the panhandling community feel laws are more lax.

Richmond city leaders however say laws are just as tough - with the Richmond police arresting ten panhandlers so far this year.

As for Maddy she says she still thinks about her old life.

"I made more money panhandling than I do working," Maddy said.

But added she never wants to go back to the streets.

Thank God I got a job and things are working out for me," Maddy said.