City council members in Houston, Texas have passed an ordinance that bans homeless people from erecting temporary shelters and tents on public property or panhandling on the public streets. The new rules also ban the homeless from blocking sidewalks or entryways to buildings. According to reports, ordinance was presented after area residents complained about aggressive panhandling and other activity on the street, which they found to be a public safety hazard.
Some also opined that the encampments detract from the desired image of the city. “I am pleased that we are addressing this important public safety issue in our city,” council member Mike Knox remarked. “Panhandling in streets is dangerous to both panhandlers and motorists.” The city says that it would prefer to see the homeless be housed in area shelters, and has been in communication with area non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army and Star to Hope to determine if there are sufficient beds to meet the need. READ MORE