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Tampa Panhandlers' Days could be Numbered

2:59 PM, Sep 8, 2011   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. --  Panhandling. The city of Tampa has wrangled with the issue for about two years and to the relief fo some, the council may be ready to make a decision on the issue.

This afternoon, the council heard a presentation by Dr. Jason Wilson, with the citizens group that's studied a way to address an incarceration diversion program in the event the city passes a street solicitation ordinance.

Right now, people are allowed to panhandle on the street as long as they are at least 18 years old and are wearing a bright colored vest.

Cities and counties around Tampa have banned the practice and soon, Tampa might as well.

Wilson recommends the city and county create a one-stop shop for the homeless and a place for law enforcement to bring individuals caught panhandling.

The one-stop shop would be modeled after Pinellas County's Safe Harbor program and provide meals, shelter and programs to get the homeless back on their feet.

Later today, the council will hear from the city legal department regarding three proposed ordinances:  a seven day ban, a six day ban that would allow for it on Sunday's so newspaper vendors can still sell their papers, or only allowing protestors to hand out pamphlets on the side of the road.

WTSP

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