FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Street beggars in Fort Lauderdale may soon be banned from panhandling if the city agrees on Tuesday to enact tough new restrictions.
On Tuesday, city commissioners will begin discussion on a proposal which would prohibit panhandling at city parks, parking garages and near ATMs and cafes. The city already bans it on beaches, beach sidewalks and within 150 feet of Atlantic Boulevard or Seabreeze Boulevard.
The city will hold two public hearings on the new ordinance before they vote on it.
Last month, commissioners signed off on a campaign which encourages people to stop giving money directly to panhandlers and instead make donations to organizations that help the homeless like the United Way of Broward or the Broward Partnership for the Homeless.
As part of the campaign, signs will be posted with the image of a hand holding a cup with a red circle around it and the international slash mark across it. The image will be captioned with “Panhandling: Don’t contribute to the problem. Contribute to the solution.”
Police beefed up patrols around Stranahan Park as part of the city’s effort to clean up the park, which has become a haven for the homeless. The park is on the busy corner of Broward Boulevard and Andrews Avenue and is adjacent to the county’s main library.
“Families don’t feel safe, people going to the library don’t feel safe, people wanting to use public resources don’t feel safe,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler told CBS4 News last month.
The city believes the sight of the homeless is affecting tourism, nearby businesses and tarnishing the city’s image. Seiler said the police are cracking down on crimes like public drunkenness, indecent exposure and urinating in public.