ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford panhandler Clifford Berriers says drivers throw dead fish at him to keep him away from intersections.
“They drive by and tell me to get a job, they’re hiring here, they’re hiring there. They ask my story, and once I tell them my story, they don’t have any problem,” he said.
Berriers says he makes nearly a hundred dollars a day standing at the intersection of E. State and Mulford Road, which he spends on a motel, food, and cigarettes.
“Everything is a blessing. I don’t care if it’s five cents,” he said.
The City has placed ten signs at major intersections to discourage motorists giving money to strangers. “Panhandling is not safe. Contribute to the solution – give to local charities,” the signs say.
Berriers said the signs are making it harder for him to get back on his feet, and has resulted in fewer people giving him money.
“They’re basically blocking me from being able to help myself,” he said of the signs.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said, “We urge citizens to, please, do not give money to people who are asking for it on the street corners. Provide those funds to the great organizations in our community.”