On November 27th, the Colorado Springs City Council voted to ban all forms solicitation from the downtown blocks between Nevada and Cascade from Boulder to Cucharras. While there’s no telling at this point whether the ban will actually go into effect, as the ACLU is currently challenging its constitutionality, it seems an opportune moment to delve into the issue of homelessness in Colorado Springs, and to explore the relationship between homelessness and panhandling in our community. Though the City Council’s decision was nearly unanimous (8-1 in favor), such consensus on the issue is more elusive in the community at large. We decided it would be worth teasing out the various viewpoints on the matter by way of a several part series, the first installment of which we’ve devoted to the voices of those least heard in this debate: so-called “panhandlers” themselves.

I recently spoke with two people downtown who could potentially be falling afoul of the new ordinance, and they discussed with me their perceptions of the ban and the role of “panhandling” in their lives. Listen to excerpts from our conversations below, and stay tuned for future installments in this series.

Fluteman:

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Victor:

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3 Responses to Handling Panhandling: Part 1

  1. CEK says:

    Keep up with this project, Noel. It’s becoming more and more embarrassing for me to admit that I live in Colorado Springs.

  2. GypsyGirl says:

    As one who has been collecting coats and handing out pb & j sammies to our former cimmarron tent occupants, I find this ban ridiculous. Please keep going with this series. I’d love to hear what other citizens think. I hardly doubt our beloved Mr. Skorman would have ever participated in something like this.

  3. Lauren says:

    I have to say that I am in favor of this ban. I live downtown, and the number of people asking for money, or simply sleeping on the sidewalk, has been getting bigger and bigger throughout the recession. I understand that these people are in a difficult position, but it makes me, and many other people, uncomfortable to see so many. It is bad for our small businesses, and the feeling of pride we should have for downtown when people choose to avoid it in order to avoid these panhandlers. However, maybe instead of just strictly enforcing the ban, there should be some kind of serious relief effort for these people in conjunction with it.

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