Virginia Police Benevolent Association Endorses Pat Herrity for Fairfax Board of Supervisors Springfield District

September 26, 2023

For Immediate Release | Sean McGown, Executive Director, VAPBA

(September 25th) – The Virginia Police Benevolent Association, Fairfax Chapter is proud to announce the endorsement of Pat Herrity for Fairfax Board of Supervisors Springfield District. Supervisor Herrity met with the Fairfax Police Benevolent Association screening and endorsement committee on September 14 where he earned the Association’s endorsement and full support.

“Pat Herrity continues to be a strong supporter of the law enforcement professionals working hard to keep Fairfax County among one of the safest, and best places to live not only in Virginia, but nationwide. Our common goal of public safety and professionalism has created a strong relationship with Supervisor Herrity and we look forward to working with him during his next term in office” Joe Woloszyn, President Virginia Police Benevolent Association.

Supervisor Herrity stated “I am extremely grateful to have the support of the men and women of our police department. I am proud to have led the effort on the Board to address our public safety staffing crisis, fight efforts to take away important legal protections from law enforcement and take on the Commonwealth Attorney in Fairfax who is failing to do his job. With rising major crime and shoplifting rates impacting our citizens’ lives and the cost of goods, it is more important than ever to have a strong police department. I look forward to continuing my work with the Police Benevolent Association to prioritize public safety and fight efforts to demoralize the department.”

The Virginia Police Benevolent Association is a division of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc., a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to improving the law enforcement profession. PBA members are full-time or retired employees of the various federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement and correctional agencies in Virginia. This professional association, funded by membership dues, provides legal, legislative, disciplinary and other representation to member officers as well as an accidental death benefit to members’ beneficiaries. The PBA prohibits members from engaging in or condoning any strike by law enforcement officers, electing instead to represent members through aggressive political action. For more information, please visit our website at


Scope on Pat Herrity’s Commitment and Vision for Springfield, VA As General Election Draws Near

September 25, 2023

Vision Times

By Alina Wang

As Virginia’s general election draws near on Nov. 7, Herrity sat down with Vision Times to share why he is seeking a fifth term, and how he hopes to continue working to improve his district. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

SPRINGFIELD, Virginia — For over a decade, Pat Herrity (R-VA) has dedicated himself as District Supervisor for the thriving communities of Springfield, Virginia. As the state’s general election draws near on Nov. 7, Herrity sat down with Vision Times to share why he is seeking a fifth term, and how he hopes to continue working to improve his district. 

A lifelong resident of Fairfax County, Herrity is no stranger to the challenges and opportunities that define the region. His deep roots in the area are evident — not just in his upbringing — but in his immediate and extended family as well. Herrity’s father, Jack Herrity, served as the former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. 

“I learned about politics and public service around the kitchen table,” Herrity told Vision Times, describing how he chose to run for public office after noticing his county spiraling in a problematic direction. “After my father passed in 2006, I didn’t like the direction the county was heading, so I decided to run public office in 2007.”

After graduating from West Springfield High School, Herrity went on to continue his education at Virginia Tech, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 1982. “I always swore I would neve run for public office, so I started a career in the business community and did my public service there, coaching sports teams, working with the community, etc.” 


If re-elected, Herrity said his main priorities would be to continue working closely to support law enforcement, tackle surging crime, lower taxes, and bolster education. 

“The increase in crime rate is impacting us all,” said Herrity. “Shoplifting is up by 47 percent and major crime is up pretty much across the board. Our residents deserve and expect their local government to provide them with a safe place to live — and we need to focus on that.”

Springfield District has seen its share of challenges — particularly when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of its residents — said Herrity. “I’ve been proud to lead the effort to hire additional policemen to fill our 200 police officer shortfall.” 

(Image: via Pat Herrity)

Another top issue to tackle revolves around education, said Herrity. As the cornerstone of any community’s future, increasing the county’s educational sector has been an area of focus. “I’m also hearing about education; our test scores have dropped,” said Herrity, adding, “We need to focus our resources on our teachers and our kids in our schools — not on administrators and political agendas.” 

In addition, Herrity said his office is comprehensively working on “addressing the unsustainable tax increases that our employees and residents have seen that are taxing our seniors and young people out of the county.” 

Stressing the importance of fiscal responsibility, Herrity emphasized the significance of not just opposing tax increases but offering solutions. “It’s important not just to vote ‘no,’ but to show how you would actually get to a balanced budget without the tax increase. That makes me different than most people,” he noted.


With a rich professional background, including a “big six background,” Herrity’s expertise spans strategic planning, finance, operations, administration, and more. His recognition as a business community leader, combined with his robust business, political, and public policy connections, has made him an influential figure in the region.

“I have a long list of achievements on the board of supervisors,” said Herrity, while reflecting on his 15-year tenure as Springfield’s supervisor. “Everything from leading two rounds of pension reviews to leading the effort to address panhandling. I’ve also led the effort to address the opioid and fentanyl public health crises.”

In addition, Herrity has been a champion advocate for minority groups and human rights issues in his county. “I’ve reached out and worked with the Asian community on everything from human rights issues to Thomas Jefferson high school (TJHS) admissions.” 

A champion advocate for minority groups in his county, Herrity (center, seated) has worked closely with the Asian-American community in Springfield to tackle issues such as institutional racism, human rights, and more. Here the group is pictured at Sampan Café. (Image: via Pat Herrity)

As one of the most sought-after specialized schools in the country, TJHS is known for its high academic standards and rigorous curriculum. However, despite the hard work and achievements of many Asian-American students in the county, many reported not being informed about financial aid and scholarship opportunities in a timely manner, or being outright denied admission.

Herrity’s professional life also showcases his commitment to excellence and service. Presently working as a financial consultant for a minority woman-owned training company, he is renowned as the “go-to” professional with unmatched leadership, management, and financial skills. Herrity also serves on the Advisory Board of Cordia Partners and has championed an agenda of fiscal responsibility and transparency on the Board of Supervisors.

Bringing a clear vision, robust experience, and steadfast commitment to the county he’s always called home, Herrity is a leader who understands the intricacies and challenges facing his community. 

“The thing I like the most is helping our citizens with the individual problems they have with the government,” said Herrity. “My office is always open to anyone, and anyone who comes can get help.”

Virginia’s general and special elections are slated for Nov. 7, 2023. Early voting began on Sept. 22. For more information, visit Herrity’s official campaign site here.

Fix of dangerous Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Co. to move forward, funding secure

September 14, 2023


By Neal Augenstein

Eight months after two South County High School students died in a crash, a treacherous stretch of Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax County, Virginia, will soon be fixed.

“We received good news from [State] Sen. George Barker, that he acquired the final $4 million that we needed to complete this road,” said Pat Herrity, Springfield District supervisor, in a WTOP interview, referring to the stretch of Lee Chapel Road between Ox Road and Fairfax County Parkway.

In January, two 16-year-old girls were killed when the 2019 Lexus IS350 they were riding in left the road and rolled over. At the time, police said the vehicle had been traveling 100 miles per hour shortly before the car became airborne.

“It’s a very heavily traveled road. There are two hills, one of which is pretty significant. It is used by many of our young drivers to catch air,” said Herrity.

In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors moved $5 million from a different project to make removing the hills a priority.

“Now that we have the community’s blessing and full funding, we will go into preliminary design, and we expect to have the preliminary design sometime in the next 12 months,” said Herrity.

Looking to the future, Herrity said there are several steps that need to be taken before work can begin, including deciding how to handle traffic in the area during construction.

“There’s two options — one is to build a temporary road and maintain traffic,” said Herrity. “The other option would be to close the road and have a detour around that section of Lee Chapel,” for approximately three years.

Herrity assured residents that they will have plenty of time to weigh in: “We’ve got a lot of work to do before we decide if we’re going to do that as an option.”

Among the specifics to be worked out, rerouting utilities during a lengthy construction period, said Herrity.

“It will involve the federal process because we’re taking park land,” he said.

Funding was secured shortly after the January tragedy, and Herrity said he’s hopeful construction will also move forward quickly, “but it’s going to take some time.”

Lee Chapel Road nears beginning of $9M improvement plan, funded after tragedy

September 14, 2023

DC News Now

By Max Marcilla

FAIRFAX STATION, Va. (DC News Now) — Wednesday marked a major development in the effort to make a Fairfax County road safer several months after two teens were killed in a car wreck that devastated a community.

At a virtual town hall hosted by Supervisor Pat Herrity, Sen. George Barker said the state is pitching in $4 million toward a project to remove the two hills on Lee Chapel Road. It comes after Fairfax County allocated $5 million toward the project, essentially funding the plan.

Herrity said the plan could take years before it’s completed, and the Virginia Department of Transportation highlighted changes already made since the January crash — including new signage — and changes anticipated in the coming weeks — including reflective pavement markers.

Bahman Haftsavar, the father of 16-year-old Ariana Haftsavar who was in the backseat of the car traveling over 100 miles-per-hour and passed away in the crash, said the plan is good, but it’s hard for him considering it’s happening when it is.

“I hope she’s the last one to get hurt,” he said. “They had to do something. I’m sure she is happy no one else is [going to] go through what we are going through. And it is so hard. No one can understand what we are going through.”

The next step toward the project is the design stage, followed by public hearings. Then, the elected officials will have to decide whether to make the changes while the road remains open, which would slow down completion, or to shut the road down completely, which would accelerate the timeline, but could impede traffic.

Haftsavar said he wants the road renamed to honor his daughter.

“She was everything to us,” he said.

Lee Chapel project gets $9 million, community support for improvements after deadly crash

September 14, 2023


By Victoria Sanchez

FAIRFAX, Va. (7News) — Fairfax County now has the funds and seemingly the support of community members to fix Lee Chapel Road. Time is the biggest factor in fixing the deadly stretch in Fairfax Station.

Around 60 people attended a virtual town hall Wednesday night to hear potential solutions to the two-lane roadway with a blind hill that Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity called “an attractive nuisance” during an interview with 7News in May.

In January, two 16-year-old girls were killed, and another seriously injured when their vehicle went airborne and crashed on Lee Chapel Road as it crested a hill traveling more than 100 miles per hour.

RELATED | 8 months after 2 teens died, Wednesday townhall to focus on Lee Chapel Road improvements

During the Wednesday meeting, Virginia Senator George Barker announced the remaining $4 million for the project would come from the Commonwealth. In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to transfer $5 million from the Shirley Gate transportation project to cover more than half of the project’s estimated price tag.

“While it’s got money and it’s moving forward, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” explained Herrity.

Fairfax County now has the funds and seemingly the support of community members to fix Lee Chapel Road. (7News)

It could be four to five years before the project is completed.

There are two options for traffic flow during construction, including shutting down the busy roadway that connects Ox Road to Fairfax County Parkway. It would last the entirety of the project and re-route drivers to Burke Lake Road, Ox Road and Fairfax County Parkway. Herrity told 7News Reporter Victoria Sanchez in May that residents would still have access to their homes.

The alternative to the shutdown would be to construct a temporary road next to Lee Chapel to allow vehicles to still drive that stretch of Fairfax Station.

“Obviously to do that, it requires more land, more space, more disturbance and also, quite frankly, it’s going to take longer because you have to do the initial construction first, before you do construction on the actual road,” explained Gregg Steverson, acting director of FCDOT.

ALSO READ | Deadly stretch of Fairfax County road gets $5 million allocation for safety improvement project

The $9 million accounts for the possibility of a temporary road. A full closure would save “two to three months” in the construction timeline, said FCDOT’s Brook Khorashadi.

During public comment, a South Run community member spoke on the choices.

“When we are considering between the two options between shutting down Lee Chapel fully or building a go-around, there are significant reasons for why the community would vote for that go-around,” said C. Collins.

“I can’t imagine the nightmare for the buses let alone the parents who drive. It would be basically cutting our neighborhood in half,” she continued.

County and Commonwealth leaders are considering removing both hills to even out the road. Preliminary design includes increasing the speed limit from 30 to 45 miles per hour once construction is completed.

Herrity told the virtual group there are several things that need to take place before any on-site work can start, including traffic studies, environmental impacts, school bus routes, surveying utilities, design, and more public input.

The next community meeting will take place once solidified plans are developed.

“We can look at some time 12 months, plus or minus two months, I’ll say, hopefully to have a public meeting on the preliminary design of the roadway and hopefully the interim improvements will continue,” he said.

It could be four to five years before the project is completed.

“It’s not as simple as plowing the two hills and leveling the road,” said Herrity. “There’s an awful lot that goes into it.”

8 months after 2 teens died, Wednesday townhall to focus on Lee Chapel Road improvements

September 12, 2023


By Victoria Sanchez

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (7News) — Eight months after two 16-year-old girls died in a high-speed crash, Fairfax County leaders will hold a virtual town hall Wednesday on road improvements.

Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station connects Ox Road and Fairfax County Parkway. The two-lane road is narrow and has two blind hills that can cause speeding drivers to feel a sense of weightlessness if going too fast.

On Jan. 10, just before 9:30 p.m., Ashlyn Brotemarkle and Ariana Haftsavar were killed and a third 16-year-old was seriously injured. Fairfax County police said Brotemarkle’s Lexus sedan went airborne more than 130 feet after traveling over a hill at more than 100 MPH in a 30 MPH zone. The vehicle landed off the roadway and into a wooded area.

Road signs along Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax County, Virginia. (7News)

“It is a magnet for teenagers and others to go too fast to get that feeling of leaving the ground,” Supervisor Pat Herrity told 7News Reporter Victoria Sanchez in May.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., Herrity, Virginia Department of Transportation, Fairfax County’s transportation department and elected officials will discuss current short-term solutions and long-term projects under consideration. The meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams.

In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to transfer $5 million from another transportation project to cover more than half of the estimated $9 million in potential construction costs.

In a July 25 letter to the Board, Supervisor Herrity stated, “The most prudent from a funding, timeline and community standpoint would eliminate the two hills and include two 11-foot lanes and a 6-foot shoulder on each side of the roadway.”

During the May interview with Sanchez, Herrity estimated construction could take 1.5 to 3 years if the road is shut down to through traffic for the entire length of the project timeline.

What should NoVa do about panhandling?

September 1, 2023

Fairfax County Times

By Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity

Although this is an election year, you won’t see any (legal) signs in the medians this fall. However, you will likely see a much more dangerous distraction: panhandling. 

Back in 2011, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to ban signs in the medians of our roads, a ban I proposed after seeing how even my political signs were distracting for motorists. While it’s illegal to stake a sign in the median, it’s surprisingly legal in Fairfax County to stand or walk around in the median holding one. 

There are no absolutes when it comes to the situations of people who panhandle; some are genuinely in need, while others are preying on the generosity of our residents. Regardless, panhandling is as much a public safety issue as a human services issue.

Our busy roadways are dangerous places for pedestrians to engage with motorists. 

We continue to work to make our roadways safer, but very sadly, there were still 23 pedestrian fatalities in Fairfax County in 2022. Before 2022, one panhandler was tragically killed when a car in an unrelated accident struck them in the median.

From reports about aggressive behavior to service concerns to near accidents when panhandlers have stepped onto the road, many residents are frustrated that the County has not implemented any solutions for panhandling. When I started working to address panhandling in 2017, the Fairfax County Police Department received over 2,100 calls related to panhandling, and district offices have received many more. Nearly 2,000 people participated in a regional panhandling town hall I co-hosted this August with Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson. 

In 2019, I asked the Board to consider three approaches to address panhandling: a public education campaign to share the services the County and nonprofit partners provide for those in need, a limited sign program to discourage panhandling, and a curb-to-curb ordinance to ban the engagement of motorists and pedestrians. While the last Board approved considering these options, in 2022, the new Board only supported my motion to recommit to addressing this issue, except for a public education campaign. 

While Fairfax punted addressing what is now a rampant problem, Loudoun County has successfully dealt with this issue. Loudoun’s ordinance prohibits the exchange of objects between pedestrians and motorists, and both offenders receive a warning or citation. Although panhandling is protected under the First Amendment, the ordinance has withstood legal challenges as it is in service of public safety. With the goal of safety, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office often warns offenders before issuing a citation. No citations have been issued this year, but there is no panhandling problem there. Numerous other jurisdictions across the country have similar ordinances.

Fairfax County has great services and work programs to help those in need, like the one I proposed in 2017 called Operation Stream Shield, but we need to take further action to address safety on our roads. In September, I will ask the Board again to consider an ordinance to address this issue. 

If you have feedback, I encourage you to share it with your district Supervisor and the Board by emailing [email protected]

Pat Herrity is the Springfield District Supervisor on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. 

Some low-income families to receive funds through Economic Mobility Pilot

August 25, 2023

Fairfax Times

By Collin Cope

Up to 180 low-income families in Fairfax County will receive $750 monthly as part of an all-new Economic Mobility Pilot.

 Utilizing funds from the general county budget and excess disaster relief from the pandemic, the 15-month pilot aims to assist families during economic hardship and help them achieve financial security.

 “Many families in Fairfax County are still recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19. We’re proud to join cities and counties locally and around the country to pilot a guaranteed income program here in Fairfax County,” said Lloyd Tucker, director of Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services.

Each applicant must be employed, over 18, and have at least one child younger than 16 years old living at home. Applicants are also limited to the county zip codes 22306, 22309, 20190, 20191, 22041, 20170, 22003, 22150, 20120 and 20151.

“The zip codes included in the pilot program are based on the current Opportunity Neighborhood boundaries and the zip codes they serve, overlaid with Fairfax County’s Vulnerability Index,” said Pallas Washington, deputy director of Fairfax County’s Neighborhood & Community Services.

Additionally, a family’s total household income must fall between 150 and 250% of the 2023 federal poverty level, with a family of two making between $29,580 and $49,300. For each additional child, the minimum income increases by $7,710, and the maximum income increases by $12,850.

While the program is available to those who file taxes and immigrants residing in the county, households receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) are ineligible due to the impact of their pre-existing benefits.

The pilot’s primary goal is to assist working families who remain in proximity to the federal poverty level but would not otherwise qualify for aid. However, while applicants are limited to this economic criterion, the county says that a change in income throughout the 15-month pilot would not impact enrollment.

“A change in income will not impact enrollment in the FCEMP,” the county’s promotional site says. “The financial assistance payments from this pilot are not included in gross income or taxable due to being disaster COVID-19 relief.”

The county emphasizes that such a program would not lead to a mass exodus of the workplace. Referencing a program in California, the county stated on its website that research from similar pilots yielded no decrease in the labor market.

“Research from similar pilots has shown that participants do not drop out of the labor market when receiving unconditional cash payments. Most recently, results from a demonstration in Stockton, Calif. shows that participants receiving monthly unconditional cash payments moved into full-time employment at a higher rate than the control group,” said Washington.

According to the county, participants may also attend optional financial coaching or receive additional supportive resources to assist them long-term.

“The Fairfax County Economic Mobility Pilot is intended to teach families in need how to become financially secure,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay.

Arlington and Alexandria already utilize a guaranteed income program, which proponents in Fairfax aim to learn from.

“We are working closely with our colleagues in Arlington, Alexandria, and in other jurisdictions around the country to better understand how a regular cash disbursement can impact the economic stability and well-being of residents when they are able to make their own decisions about how to spend the money,” said Washington.

George Mason University will conduct a research study on the efficacy of this pilot, offering participants the option to share their “socio-economic well-being” in a baseline study before and after the pilot.

“In partnership with United Way of the National Capital Area and George Mason University, the pilot will allow Fairfax County to learn how a regular cash disbursement can impact the economic stability and well-being of residents when they are able to make their own decisions about how to spend the money,” said Washington.

Fairfax County Democrats are the leading proponents of the pilot and feel this program will improve the lives of those receiving assistance.

“Providing families with these resources will build their independence and will benefit all members of our community,” said McKay. “The federal funds we use for this pilot are critical in helping create more resilient communities.”

 However, some representatives are frustrated with the county’s use of excess funds.

 “I’m disappointed this was passed without a separate Board vote or resident input. We should be giving residents truly in need a hand up, not a handout,” said Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. “Programs like these have shown to have little long-term impact, do not require anything of the participants, and are more like a lottery than a support program.”

Town Hall addresses ways to curb panhandling

August 25, 2023

Fairfax Times

By Taneika Duhaney

Last Thursday, leaders from Fairfax and Prince William County hosted a joint town hall to discuss the growing panhandling issue–begging people on the street for food or money. 

The discussion, titled “What Should Northern Virginia Be Doing About Panhandling’’ was hosted by Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity and featured Prince William Supervisor Jeannine Lawson, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Greg Ahlemann, and Director of Fairfax County Department of Public Works Chris Herrington. The 90-minute exchange was broadcast on Channel 16 and Facebook Live.

Herrity and Lawson, sole Republican contenders for their respective seats in the Nov. 7 general election, framed panhandling as a nuisance and a growing public safety issue. Herrity said, “In 2023, 236 panhandlers were reported for suspicious behavior, and 58 criminal acts were found.” In the absence of other qualifying data, Lawson speculated that the reasons people panhandle are as varied as where they panhandle. The most common reasons include economic challenges, addiction, organized panhandling, mental health struggles, and homelessness. 

Resident frustration with panhandlers was palpable. One resident expressed how a panhandler damaged his car to the tune of approximately $7,000. Other residents expressed concerns about panhandlers becoming increasingly aggressive with commuters, going to the bathroom in public spaces like commuter lots, indecent exposure at traffic medians, and shoplifting from small businesses. 

“I have personally witnessed some panhandlers that are very aggressive,” said Lawson. “I’ve felt uncomfortable as my car is sitting at a light, and they’re like two feet from my door. I can relate exactly to your frustration.”

Residents were equally frustrated with the Fairfax County Police Department’s limited ability to curb this growing problem since both Fairfax and Prince William counties lack laws that make panhandling illegal. In the absence of any statute directly addressing panhandling, FCPD’s response leaves much to be desired. This issue is a stark contrast to Loudoun County.

According to Ahlemann, Loudoun County adopted an ordinance prohibiting panhandling in 2013. As a result, Loudoun has fewer incidents of panhandling. With an education-first approach, Loudoun County law enforcement works to inform panhandlers of the county’s rules and offer resources. When such recourse fails, panhandlers and drivers exchanging goods or money are issued a summons for breaking the law. 

Loudoun County’s panhandling ordinance, similar to that of numerous cities and states across the country, seemed like a practical next step for Fairfax and Prince William counties. However, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted not to advance Herrity’s draft ordinance and sign program in 2022. Instead, the Board adopted Herrity’s public education campaign to curb panhandling. In the May letter, the Board clearly stated that “courts have maintained repeatedly that panhandling is protected speech.”

Other solutions are desperately needed if Thursday’s town hall was a barometer of the campaign’s success. Herrity and Lawson expressed support for re-engaging law enforcement in their respective jurisdictions and elevating the issue with the state delegation in Richmond to make panhandling illegal on a larger scale. 

Herrity and Lawson also discussed successful non-punitive options to address panhandling, including the 2019 Fairfax County Stormwater partnership with local shelters that gave rise to Operation Stream Shield. This work program employed panhandlers and some homeless people to remove invasive plants and litter from streams across the county. 

Herrington touted the program’s success, and a Fairfax resident echoed similar sentiments. 

“Without that program (Operation Stream Shield), there would be so much more illegally dumped garbage in Springfield, especially the Hechinger Drive area and Loisdale Court,” said Nicole from Springfield. 

In addition to job partnerships, both counties offer wrap-around resources. Herrity mentioned Fairfax County’s numerous public safety net programs from organizations like the Fairfax Falls Church Community Services Board, Fairfax County Homeless Healthcare Program, and Fairfax County Domestic Violence Hotline and Helpline. The County also partners with local nonprofits that operate shelters, food banks, and community closets and offer other assistance programs. Lawson highlighted the Prince William County PATH (project and assistance towards transitioning the homeless community) program to help residents struggling to find long-term housing solutions. 

Despite these services, panhandling persists. Residents from both jurisdictions continually stressed the need to curb panhandling because the status quo adversely impacts drivers, pedestrians, and panhandlers. 

Prince William, Fairfax leaders look to crack down on panhandling

August 22, 2023

Inside Nova

By Ben Peters

Prince William Supervisor Jeanine Lawson is calling for the county to adopt a law prohibiting roadside panhandling, which she described as a longstanding “epidemic” in the area.

Lawson, a Republican supervisor who represents the Brentsville District and is seeking election as board chair, said at a Fairfax County town hall that Prince William should explore approving a measure similar to a Loudoun County ordinance that regulates the practice.

“I would really like Prince William to take a strong and hard look at what is working in Loudoun County,” she said. “There’s no reason why we can’t at least explore those options.”

Prince William Supervisor Jeanine Lawson is calling for the county to adopt a law prohibiting roadside panhandling, which she described as a longstanding “epidemic” in the area.

Lawson, a Republican supervisor who represents the Brentsville District and is seeking election as board chair, said at a Fairfax County town hall that Prince William should explore approving a measure similar to a Loudoun County ordinance that regulates the practice.

“I would really like Prince William to take a strong and hard look at what is working in Loudoun County,” she said. “There’s no reason why we can’t at least explore those options.”

Herrity, who represents the Springfield District, has recently pushed for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to also ban panhandling. He advised residents to refrain from giving money to panhandlers and instead give to area nonprofits that help connect them with resources and county social services.

“Providing money to individuals who panhandle doesn’t address the core issues and may prove to have a negative impact,” Herrity said.

Ahlemann noted panhandling numbers in Loudoun are markedly lower after the county law prohibiting it was adopted.

Lawson said Prince William is home to a wide range of panhandlers, including some who are truly in need of resources, while others are part of organized panhandling groups who coordinate to deceive residents for money. Other panhandlers are suffering from addiction, mental health issues or are experiencing homelessness, she said.

Lawson advocated for erecting signs across Prince William to raise awareness about panhandling. The county, Lawson said, is working to shift the behavior of givers to not provide money, while also encouraging panhandlers to seek help from government services.

Some Northern Virginia residents called in to the town hall. Many said panhandling has become more of an issue in recent years and that those doing it have become more aggressive. 

Lawson said violent panhandlers have become an acute issue for business owners in the Manassas area.

“They are incredibly disruptive to a lot of our retail shops up and down [Route] 234, and we actually need to make sure that what crimes they’re committing are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, because a lot of these store owners are fed up with the repeat offenders that are coming back and roughing up their clerks again,” Lawson said.