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Law would stop panhandlers from spending extended time on corners, exit ramps

Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 19:38:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A proposed law would limit the amount of time someone can spend standing or sitting on a street corner or exit ramp; taking aim at people who beg for money. 

Drivers in Kansas City are familiar with the sight: People standing on the corner, with signs, asking for your money. 

"I don’t go out buying drugs, I buy food for me and my wife, that's why my sign says Army vet and wife," said Shaggy, a homeless man who talked to 41 Action News Friday. 

Shaggy says he is an Army veteran. He admits bad choices got him in prison.

He got out five years ago. 

His "office" this Friday is the intersection of 71 Highway and Volker Blvd. 

"30 minutes on, 30 minutes off, give someone else a chance," said Shaggy. 

Later that night, Shaggy said he plans to sleep under a bridge. 

Councilwoman Teresa Loar is pushing for the law after the city received 191 panhandling complaints last year.

In just the first eight months of 2018, the city has already received 176 complaints. 

"If I took you out of your job and house for a week, put you out here, you have no phone, you don’t know where you are at. Who are you going to turn to? The street corner, can get you a little bit of money so you can get on the bus to find a shelter, a soup kitchen," said Shaggy. 

The proposed law would make it illegal to sit or stand at an exit ramp or intersection longer than the amount of time it takes to safely cross. 

"They don’t want to hire ex-felons, they don’t want to hire someone that is homeless, I don’t have an address now. We are in a rock and a hard spot. Now the politicians are trying to take out what we do have to get food."

The transportation committee will vote on the proposed ordinance Wednesday.