BOISE – Begging for money on the streets of Idaho's capital city is under scrutiny once again.
City council members will discuss tightening Boise's existing panhandling rules at Tuesday's regular meeting.
Three new ordinances are up for discussion:
- Aggressive Solicitation Ordinance: would expand the city existing panhandling law by prohibiting soliciting money from the roadway, soliciting while standing outside a bank or ATM and among other things, using profane language or threats.
- Civil Sidewalk Ordinance: would prohibit sitting or lying on publicly owned infrastructure, in building entrances or driveways or loading docks.
- Public Placement Ordinance: would require a permit for erecting a tent, stage or other structure except on personal property, while visiting a park, sporting event or parade.
City spokesman Adam Park says people have noticed more panhandling over the past few years.
“We have gotten complaints from police and the business community and residents that the amount of panhandling in the city has gone up,” Park told KTVB.
However, he also said the new ordinances under review would reduce the amount of panhandling, but not eliminate it.
HAVE A HEART, GIVE SMART
Park says the city is trying to educate the public about its "Have a Heart, Give Smart" campaign that directs donations to charitable organizations that provide real life change to people in need.
“We are trying to divert all those funds that would go to panhandling, to real organizations that can provide change for people that are homeless and in need,” said Park.
One of those organizations is the Boise Rescue Mission.
“There are some people out there in very desperate situations right now and they feel compelled to do whatever they can to gather some money to help themselves or their families out,” said the rescue mission's executive director Bill Roscoe.
Park said that sometimes when people give to panhandlers they are helping feed a drug or alcohol additions.
Similarly, Roscoe believes Boise and the Treasure Valley already have all the resources for a person in need.
He says there is really no need for panhandling.
“Because if someone comes into the Rescue Mission in need they are going to find their needs met, and they are going to have a lot of resources available that mine or your five dollar bill on the corner isn’t going to give them,” said Roscoe.
The Boise City Council meets Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers, on the 3rd floor of the Boise City Hall, to discuss proposed ordinances.