A new proposal out of Baltimore, Maryland is seeking to put a stop to homeless panhandling near public places like stores, restaurants, and parking meters in an effort to make both visitors and residents feel safer.
Councilwoman Rochelle Spector is at the forefront of the initiative to stop people from asking others for money in front of public places. While there has ben some pushback from homeless advocates, Spector says that it’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
"This is atrocious behavior," said Spector. "This isn't targeted toward anybody, but bad behavior is bad behavior."
There is already a law against people asking for money in traffic, but this new piece of legislation would extend to outside public places.
Among those opposed to the new legislation is Bonnie Lane. Lane used to be homeless and is actually considering a run for Baltimore mayor. She says that the top issue that needs to be addressed is how to make sure people don’t become homeless in the first place.
"Maybe there would be less panhandling if people had access to livable wages and affordable housing," said Lane to the Baltimore Sun. "Instead of criminalizing the homeless, why aren't they doing something about that? People panhandle to eat, to be able to buy soap or shampoo or deodorant."
Spector, along with local authorities, admits that cracking down on panhandling is already difficult to do and will still prove to be a challenge if this legislation is voted by the city council on November 4th, but the councilwoman maintains that it’s all about trying to make people safer.
Source: Baltimore Sun