This issue has been on the back burner of the city council for years, and they are finally attacking it with full force, or so it seems. Here in Atlanta, we have a problem, and it’s not getting any better. During the Olympics in 1996, all the homeless were displaced by the city and shipped out, only to return after the completion of the games. There had been legislation in place just before the games began, but it was essentially unenforceable. The city has many ordinances against panhandling and sleeping “urban camping” in the streets. I don’t blame homeless people for the problems caused because they have mostly been dealt a bad hand in life and sometimes you just can’t get over thing. I completely blame the city for not taking a more active role in helping the needy and not trying their best to clean up downtown. New legislation is sweeping in and it addresses the enforceability, along with a few other issues.
“Panhandling is completely banned in the Downtown Tourism Triangle and around the King Center. It’s outlawed everywhere after dark. And aggressive panhandling is also outlawed throughout the city of Atlanta.
Aggressive panhandling is defined as blocking the path, following a person, using profane or abusive language, or touching.
The new law would also make it illegal to make false or misleading solicitations including lying about being from out of town, pretending to be a member of the armed services, pretending to be disabled by using a wheelchair or other prop, using makeup to simulate a deformity, and lying about being homeless.”
This is definitely a step in the right direction, but the real issue at hand is why these people are homeless, and how can we help them dig themselves out of the hole they’re in. I would love to hear comments on this issue, so don’t be shy!