KC council holds panhandling ordinance for changes

Posted at 4:54 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 19:28:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The highly-debated ordinance that could change how the homeless ask for money is being held for three weeks. 

Scheduled for a final vote Thursday, the ordinance that some council members call a public safety problem is being held for changes. 

The ordinance would make it illegal to stand at an intersection or exit ramp longer than the time it takes to "safely cross." Some say it would virtually make it illegal to panhandle in many hot spots around town. 

"I wouldn't know what to do if they say I can’t," said Gerald Parks. 

You can find Gerald Parks on the Plaza twice a week. He said it is his only way to get money. 

Parks is one of many who panhandle in the city. 

"I’ve noticed a few more that have been aggressive," said Carrol Marley. 

The aggressive nature has caused many to complain. 311 has received hundreds of complaints this year. 

Parks is partially paralyzed. He says some people who panhandle can get off the streets and try to get a job. 

"I see some people fully mobile, now, able to get a 9-5 job, but there are a lot of people that are not able," said Parks. 

John Evans says people are overreacting. 

"I have been down here for decades, I’ve been accosted and its never a nuisance. If I don’t want to deal with them, I go about my business. I think people need to get over it. I think they are too uptight if you don’t like people panhandling, make a difference in the world to change that," said Evans. 

Many have been vocal about the issue. But it seems impossible to find a solution. 

"The homeless situation is a tough situation, I think there needs to be more done about it, but I don’t have all the answers," said Marley. 

KCPD has no position on the ordinance. They say if passed, they will enforce the law.