Shortly after Colorado Springs City Council passed the downtown no-solicitation ordinance, we began a Big Something series exploring the ways in which this ban is perceived by the people it affects. Our first piece featured interviews with a local street musician and a self-described “houseless” man, both of whom expressed frustration with the ordinance and discussed the role of “panhandling” in their lives. Our second installment featured a conversation with downtown business owner and former city council member Richard Skorman about his reasons for supporting for the ban. Though a federal judge recently issued an injunction against the ordinance on First Amendment grounds, meaning the ban will be held at bay indefinitely, we feel it’s important to continue the conversation about panhandling and homelessness in Colorado Springs.

Matt Parkhouse. Photo Credit: Westside Pioneer.

Matt Parkhouse. Photo Credit: Westside Pioneer.

In this third installment of the “Handling Panhandling” series, we speak with Matt Parkhouse, a registered nurse who has been working with and on behalf homeless people in Colorado Springs since the 1970s. Over the course of the last 40 years, Parkhouse has seen how panhandling figures into the larger issue of homelessness in Colorado Springs. In this interview, he argues that the city’s longtime tolerance of panhandling, coupled with the no-strings-attached philosophy of many local charities, has created its own set of challenges for the homeless population in this community. Listen below to hear Parkhouse explain his position on the no-solicitation ordinance and his take on how the city could better address the problem of “chronic homelessness”.

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Handling Panhandling: Part 3 – Matt Parkhouse


3 Responses to Handling Panhandling: Part 3

  1. rose enyeart says:

    Thank you for the wonderful report on homelessness. It does help to know from someone who has experience, first hand, that our “help” is more clearly “avoidance of the problem” than actual help. How do we manage to really reach out and help those who can be helped?

  2. Deena Bennett says:

    What are the specific organizations that Mr. Parkhouse refers to who will help people who don’t want to be homeless? How can the media spotlight available resources and let people know that giving money to the homeless is counter-productive?

  3. Mary Ann Tabor says:

    Very insightful interview and thoughtful responses, too. Mr. Parkhouse’s comments on perpetuating the problem are eye-opening. Thank you for running this series on panhandling.


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