City council passes ordinance to ban homeless camps and panhandlers from medians

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Ordinance passes to ban panhandling and homeless camps.

The Houston City Council approved an ordinance to prohibit homeless camps and tents and panhandling on medians and sidewalks.

According to a press release, council member Mike Knox's amendment to ban panhandlers from the city's medians passed today.

"I am pleased that we are addressing this important public safety issue in our city. Panhandling in streets is dangerous to both panhandlers and motorists," Knox said.

The homeless camp ordinance will be enforced in 30 days, while the ban on panhandling on medians and sidewalks will go into effect immediately.

The city has already started to inform the homeless about the new ordinance.

Councilman Dwight Boykins said three main areas they will target first are Highway 59 overpass, south Main and southwest Houston.

The city passed the bans after numerous complaints about panhandlers and from neighbors near homeless camps. They say they are victims of crime or have experienced other issues that spill out of the camps.

Knox applauded Mayor Sylvester Turner and other council members for what he said was taking a step towards making the city safer.

This story is developing. Eyewitness News will bring you updates on which areas the city plans to target first.
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