Colorado Springs

City of Colorado Springs looking to crack down on panhandlers

New ordinance to crack down on...

COLORADO SPRINGS - Chances are, if you've driven through Colorado Springs, you've seen panhandlers.

City council members say it's a growing problem and they are looking to implement an ordinance to combat it.

Violating the new ordinance would carry fees of up to $2,500 and up to six months in jail.

However, people who are in the area daily say they depend on it for their livelihood.

"A lot of these people out here don't cause any problems," explained Amanda Lopez, who is homeless. "Fining someone for trying to make a little money to get food? Or stuff to keep warm? I don't think it's fair."

City leaders argue it's a matter of keeping people safe.

"It's 100% a safety issue -- we recognize that people can use their first amendment rights which would include asking for funds, holding signs, advocating things that they want," said Tom Strand, city councilman.

Lopez says, she still would like a little more consideration.

"Maybe take some time out like you're doing and talk to some of them. They might actually change their mind," Lopez added.

The city will have two readings on the ordinance, where the public will be able to weigh in. The first meeting is on January 24.


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