Houston Cracks Down on Panhandling, Blocking Sidewalks

Houston is fighting panhandlers with new rules than go in effect next month.

The City Council has passed an ordinance that prohibits public encampments – and another that bans blocking of a street, sidewalk or entrance of a building.

The council took the action Wednesday. The new rules go into effect after 30 days.

The measures are an extension of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s plan, The Way Home, to address homelessness and panhandling issues.

The Way Home is a public-private partnership that places chronically homeless people in housing.

He also called on apartment owners and landlords with vacant units to help out. An extra 215 shelter beds should come online in August with the completion of the new Star of Hope campus in South Houston.

Panhandling has drawn complaints from people and businesses throughout the city, particularly in southwest Houston.

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