Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gainesville backs off
its panhandling ordinance

Gainesville will not prohibit panhandling along its streets in an agreement that will end a lawsuit claiming the practice is unconstitutional

The city will no longer issue blanket prohibitions on panhandling on the side of roadways or require non-profit status for those seeking contributions on or near city streets, according to the agreement.

Gainesville will pay damages and attorneys' fees to the three homeless people who brought the suit. The amounts will be determined in mediation.

The lawsuit, filed in March, alleges Gainesville and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office violated the civil rights of three homeless people who were panhandling on the side of city streets. See previous post here.

The settlement resolves only one of the two lawsuits Gainesville is facing over issues regarding homeless residents. The second suit, filed last month, alleges the city discriminated against Fire of God Ministries in a zoning issue because the church caters primarily to the homeless. See previous post here.

Read the Gainesville Sun article here.

Congratulations, Shelbi!

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