The notorious municipality near Medellin, Envigado, bans panhandling
from its streets. In return, the homeless will receive food, baths,
medicine and psychological treatment. Envigado is the first
municipality of Colombia to prohibit begging.
Mandatory Jose Diego Gallo said Friday that Envigado “finally finished its charity” and announced that panhandlers are banned from the area.
Begging is a business and beggars can earn, though not in all cases, more than COP 1 million a month, Carlos Aguilar, a official of the Social Welfare department in Envigado, told newspaper El Colombiano Friday.
For Luz Maria Restrepo Botero, Secretary of Government, it is clear that there are underground activities behind begging, like drug dealing.
To stop the circulation of money, the authorities came up with the idea of heart-shaped coins. These coins allow the homeless and beggars to receive food, baths, medicine and psychological treatment.
The heart-shaped coins can be bought in any shop in Envigado for COP1000 each. Beggars who cannot afford those coins are also eligible to receive the help promised by the authorities.