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The City of Knoxville and the CBID are working to make the Downtown and surrounding areas a better place to live, work and play. Especially in warmer weather gets warmer, you might see more panhandlers. Please don’t be tempted to give them money, for what you give them not only encourages more panhandling, but the money they collect does not actually help them. In fact, by giving even a small amount, you may actually cause harm than good. Your spare change does not help them address the circumstances that put them on the street, and it may discourage them from seeking assistance from social service agencies.

You do not need to feel guilty when you say no to panhandlers. Support agencies exist to help people meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. People can gain access to support services here in Knoxville by dialing 3-1-1. If you want to give money to help the homeless, or those in downtown who are in need, support programs like the following:


Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry
(865) 673-6540

Salvation Army
(865) 525-9401

Volunteer Ministry Center
(865) 524-3926

Knoxville’s Panhandling Ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to solicit money or other things of value in the following circumstances:
•  After sunset and before sunrise
•  By repeatedly asking a person
•  Using abusive language or profanity
•  In an aggressive manner in a public area
•  In parking lots or garages owned by the City of Knoxville
•  On private property if the owner has a sign posted or has asked the person to stop
•  From motorists in traffic
•  From persons waiting in line to be admitted to a commercial establishment
•  By falsely representing why they are seeking money
•  Or within 20 feet of:
        A crosswalk
        An entrance or exit of any bank or check cashing business
        An ATM
        Public restrooms
        Pay phones
        Sidewalk café or outdoors dining area
        A bus stop or bus station



If you are the target of illegal soliciting or panhandling you are encouraged to call the Knoxville Police Department at (865) 215-4010.
The Central Business Improvement District is online at Please e-mail or call 246-2654 for more information.


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