Tampa City Council passes panhandling ban - FOX 13 News

Tampa City Council passes panhandling ban

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Those who make a living panhandling in Downtown Tampa and Ybor City will soon have to find new real estate to ply their trade.

Thursday the city council passed new restrictions on panhandling.

Under the new ordinance it would be unlawful to ask for cash in the "Downtown/Ybor City Protected zone", at a bus or trolly stop, at a sidewalk cafe or within 15 feet of an ATM or the entrance of a financial institution.

That passed 6-1 with only Councilwoman Mary Mulhern standing against the ban.

"For me it's just a moral issue, I just can't vote, I can't because of my faith vote against helping people who are in need," said Mulhern.

Mulhern also voted "no" to an ordinance that would ban people from storing property in public, urinating in public and sleeping on public right of ways and in parks.

That also passed Thursday 4-3.

Both bans come two years after panhandling was banned in Tampa intersections.

It's not that Mulhern doesn't acknowledge there's a problem, she just has a problem with city's solution.

"It's a matter of finding jobs, finding homes, finding beds and finding services for these people," said Mulhern.

Christina Dougherty doesn't agree with the councilwoman.

"I'm very much in support of the ordinance," said Dougherty.

Dougherty is a clinical social worker who has worked with the homeless in the past.

She says this new panhandling strategy is a step in the right direction.

"This will just give Tampa Police Department another tool to have some leverage to be able to get these individuals into the shelters and into the treatment centers and into the detox whereas they might not choose that," said Dougherty.

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