The Abilene Police department is responding to numerous calls of concern for a homeless man in a wheelchair collecting donations at Highway 83/84 and FM 707. Police are trying to educate the public on the details and the big picture of the situation.
According to Abilene Police, the man in question has been provided shelter and is not currently homeless. Police Chief Stan Standridge says he and his officers have spoken to the man, and discovered that he collects at least $1,000 in a weekend. Standridge says since coverage of the man has circulated on social media, he's received reports from citizens saying the man is panhandling almost daily. The Chief says he's not trying to discourage the giving spirit in Abilene, "From a spiritual perspective, I would tell anybody, 'If you feel lead in that moment to give, be obedient." But Standridge says he thinks if pooled, Abilene's generosity could help solve the bigger problem.
"You can give out $5 all day long and you are not going to do anything to impact homelessness," Standridge says. "But if you'll give your $5, and I'll give my $5, and the next person gives their $5 to Abilene Hope Haven and we built a synergy, then we can be more philanthropic. Then we can actually go out and help our homeless neighbors."
According to Standridge, Abilene's homeless population is currently about 125 people. The city recently achieved zero functional homelessness for veterans. And the Chief says working together Abilene could eliminate homelessness.