A law in Cincinnati, Ohio, that requires panhandlers to register with the city is up for renewal next month. City officials plan to discuss renewing the panhandling ordinance, which was put in place last year to enhance outreach to homeless residents with addiction and mental-health problems, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported May 18.
Under the regulation, police officers can arrest anyone who solicits money and doesn’t have a panhandling permit.
Brent Chasteen, an outreach coordinator who works for Downtown Cincinnati Inc., said the ordinance has given him an opening to approach panhandlers. First, he asks them if they have a panhandling license, and then talks with them about places where they can receive various services, including a hot meal, housing, and addiction and mental-health treatment.
“I think I’ve proven that they can trust me, and that I’ll do what I say,” said Chasteen. “You have to build that trust.”
According to Chasteen’s statistics, of the 204 panhandlers he had made contract with, 78 are now off the streets.