December 21, 2013

Letter to the editor: Panhandling complaints miss real issues in the city

I am writing in response to the article posted Nov. 19 (“In court, Portland defends panhandling limits”), discussing the prohibition of panhandling by the city of Portland. It is frustrating to see the number of complaints about panhandling when the real issue is being overlooked.

Why do the residents of Portland think people are panhandling? I believe it is because of the lack of resources for mental health within the city that limits whether individuals’ needs and housing capabilities can be addressed.

The city of Portland should be coming together within the public forum to discuss ways to help individuals. There needs to be more commentary regarding why these individuals feel the need to panhandle instead of banning panhandling.

People deserve to be treated fairly, and by prohibiting panhandling, it may cause people to lose their only income for necessities. If the public wants a say in city laws, then let them be aware of what society needs to provide in order for individuals to feel safe enough to receive the support that they need.

Elizabeth Hahnel

New Gloucester

 

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