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.