Houston Council Cuts Down on Panhandling and Tent Shelters
Those participating in homeless camps and panhandling in Houston will be violating a new ordinance passed on Wednesday. The rules say that people with unlawful cooking equipment and tents and makeshift shelters made in public areas will be required to move to an official shelter, or they can sleep on city property. Additionally, Chron.com says it will become a misdemeanor for panhandlers to “impede the use of a Houston roadway, or block a sidewalk or building entrance.”
KHOU relays that Mayor Sylvester Turner hopes the new rules will increase the safety of all Houstonians, but he knows that there’s much to be done to help the homeless. He intends on expanding The Way Home to allow for 500 more homeless city residents to gain supportive housing. “The Way Home is a coordinated housing effort between 100 public and private groups that’s reduced homelessness by 57 percent in five years,” the news writes.
When it comes to homeless camps, the new rules will not go into effect until mid-May, but the panhandling rule begins immediately. ABC 13 writes that authorities have begun notifying the homeless population about these new rules. The main focus will be on areas such as the “Highway 59 overpass, south Main and southwest Houston.”