New Harris County panhandling proposal aims to keep solicitors off busy roads

Harris County is considering restricting panhandlers to sidewalks only, preventing people from walking up to cars
January 7, 2014 3:23:33 PM PST
There could soon be brand new restrictions on panhandling in Harris County if a new proposal is approved. The plan is meant to keep soliciters off of busy roadways.

It may be the intersection of FM 1960 and the North Freeway Feeder, but panhandler Frank has called it his corner for more than a decade.

"Sometimes people will give us a $20 bill and sometimes nothing," Frank said.

His corner may soon become more contained. Harris County is considering restricting soliciations for charities and panhandling to sidewalks only, preventing people from walking up to cars. It won't prevent the practice,but it might make it safer for all involved.

"Let's be careful of our drivers who are trying to pay attention to conditions and not necessarily for somebody walking beside me," Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle said.

In northwest Harris County, there've been reports of aggressive panhandlers.

"They'll knock on the windows, they'll be very tough, might stand in front of the car and make it difficult for the person to move," Larry Lipton with the Northwest Chamber of Commerce.

If the regulations are adopted, deputies would issue citations. And if those are not paid, it could lead to arrests, leaving Frank facing the possibility of being marooned on his concrete corner.

"And then how you supposed to get any money if they can't give it to you?" Frank said.

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