I saw this on the Seattle Channel the other day, but it went past rather quickly, and I’m glad there’s a print reference that I can link to. In an article about Tacoma’s ban on panhandling, C.R. Douglas finds a homeless man with an interesting perspective:
Tacoma’s approach does seem like a hard sell in bleeding-heart Seattle. Does the city have the jail space, the mental-health resources, and the addiction services that would be needed if panhandling was criminalized? Surely those questions would be asked.
And what about the unintended consequences? Just the other day I asked a homeless man waving a sign near an Interstate 5 on-ramp what he thought of Tacoma’s law, which bans his behavior there. “People will be doing other things, I guarantee you that. Breaking into cars and garages and whatever they can do,” he warned. “This gives people an option.”
So, next time you roll up to an intersection or off-ramp, make sure you thank the person begging for change for not breaking into your house. It’s very kind of them.