We have been trying to convince the City of Cleveland to pass a law that would regulate the shelters. I guess sometimes you have to watch what you wish for, because you may get it. The City of Cincinnati passed an updated shelter standards bill and placed a bunch of Easter eggs in the legislation. They included in the bill a requirement that every shelter receiving public money must discourage panhandling among their clients. So, the shelters are expected to dissuade their residents from engaging in a perfectly legal activity. They must report to the City every year how they "discouraged panhandling." All of the other issues in the world that the shelters should be counseling their clients against like drugs, prostitution, and even state sponsored gambling, and the City picks out the legal practice of panhandling for special scrutiny.
The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless is suing the city over this ridiculous policy. The City has also taken the oversight of the shelters away from the Coalition and given it to the group that distributes the federal funds locally. The City claims that it is premature to file suit since it is not sure that the policy will become law.
"City Solicitor John Curp said the lawsuit is premature because council's approval of the rules does not mean they will be implemented by city administrators. He said his office must review council's recommendations to determine whether they are constitutional." according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.Brian
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