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Salt Lake City's 'harsh' billboards will shun panhandling

KUTV Homeless help 120616.JPG
Salt Lake City's 'harsh' billboards will shun panhandling (Photo: KUTV)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — New billboards are going up this week in Salt Lake City that say not to give panhandlers money, but to instead give money to organizations that aid the homeless.

City officials and the Downtown Alliance business group launched a public awareness campaign Thursday aimed at curbing the begging practice that has become common in Utah's capital.

Four billboards will go up around downtown with slogans like, "Don't give money to panhandlers. Help them more by giving to service providers."

Another billboard will read, "Support panhandlers, and you support alcoholism."

Mayor Jackie Biskupski says officials want to help people gain self-reliance, but she believes panhandling actually fights against that.

Biskupski says the campaign is intended to be harsh and "in your face a little bit."