Tougher Pan Handling Ordinance

The Downtown Commission approved tougher rules against panhandling.  There were no objections from public input.  The DC’s recommendation will now be presented to Austin City Council for approval.  If the new ordinance is passed, then it will be illegal to panhandle at any time of day, rather than just at night time as it is currently.

Dozens of groups were at the table, notably social services like Caritas and the ARCH, in support of drafting new ordinance language.  When the staff of the ARCH is in favor of something like this, we should expect Council get behind this, too.

Beth Atherton, executive director of Caritas, says most people think panhandling is a homeless issue.  But she says most people who panhandle are not homeless and the best way to help the less fortunate is by giving time or money to agencies which provide services for those without.

Video on KVUE

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Note that it restricts aggressive panhandling only – and that has definititions attached that make this constitutionally viable. The ordinance is also complaint driven – so nothing happens if people don’t report it. The main take aways are a.) if you want to support social services there are more responsible ways of giving than handing them money directly, and b.) if someone’s behavior is threatening – regardless of the time of day – report it. Call 911.

    Over time this simpler to enforce ordinance, with consistent 24/7 hours and easily manageable boundries will be well understood on both sides of the transaction and the behavior that is hurting our convention, tourism and entertainment businesses can be curbed.

  2. Encouraging that this has garnered such widespread support. Thanks for the update.

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