Panhandling proposals rile Boise's homeless

Credit: Paul Boehlke / KTVB

Panhandling proposals rile Boise's homeless

Print
Email
|

by Jamie Grey & KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 30 at 6:04 PM

BOISE -- The city council is holding a meeting Tuesday night for the public to weigh-in on two proposed ordinances dealing with soliciting and sidewalks, both affecting the city's homeless community.

The soliciting ordinance would restrict people from asking for money by being intimidating, or asking at places like outdoor restaurants, ATM's, on streets or by bus stops.

The sidewalk ordinance would prohibit sitting or lying on sidewalks that are near the Boise greenbelt, or near doorways into buildings.

Prior to Tuesday's city council meeting, several people were speaking out against both proposed measures, including the ACLU and Henry Krewer, the mission coordinator at the Corpus Christi shelter.

"You cannot shut out people that are so desperately in need," said Krewer. "Boise is not a gated community. We consist of all different kinds."

Many are worried that aggressive panhandlers are intimidating customers and driving them away from businesses, like restaurants and theaters.

Boise Rescue Mission Reverend Bill Roscoe believes the rules would protect businesses, and encourage the homeless to seek shelter and get back on their feet.

"As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't have anything to do with someone's rights as much as it has to do with protecting the businesses and protecting the elderly," said Roscoe.

"In my opinion, it's really unnecessary for people to be standing on a corner or standing around an ATM machine and asking for money. They simply need to come down to the place where the services are provided, and they'll have their needs met."

Meanwhile, Krewer and others from the ACLU of Idaho believe the ordinances would take away the right for panhandlers to survive.

KTVB spoke to Gayle Black, a woman who has been homeless in Boise for a couple of years.

"Flying a sign is a survival strategy when you have nothing," said Black. "Is this ordinance to say that you no longer have the right to survive?"

She insisted that her only way of getting by is through panhandling, and even asking drivers for money.

"They do not make an income that they will purchase a new car," said Black. "They make an income that is an amount so they can live through one day and go into another day. One more day."

If the measures are accepted at Tuesday night's meeting, the city council will move the ordinances forward to a formal vote procedure.

Print
Email
|