Atlanta Introduces New Money Solicitation Law

 In Blog

The holidays place a focus on giving to others, but giving is a personal choice. No one should ever feel obligated to give, or worse, be subjected to unwanted monetary solicitation on our streets.

It might interest you to know that a new law recently went into effect prohibiting aggressive money solicitations in Atlanta. The law outlaws asking for money within 15 feet of ATMs, parking lot pay boxes, or building entrances or exits. The law also specifically outlaws physical contact during monetary solicitation.

In a letter from Atlanta Chief of Police, George N. Turner, he states, “This law expands the definition of aggressive panhandling by prohibiting someone from continuing to ask for money after he or she has been told ‘no.’  We believe the law strikes a balance as a reasonable, humane and enforceable way to stop aggressive monetary solicitation.”

Penalties for violations range from community service for a first conviction to a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail for a third conviction of aggressive monetary solicitation.

However, realizing that panhandling on the street is often a result of the larger problem of homelessness, the City of Atlanta is working closely with the Atlanta Police Department and other non-profit partners to end chronic homelessness, and to ensure that those arrested for violating this ordinance are evaluated to determine if they need services such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, job training and housing assistance.

Still concerned about our homeless and want to give? Consider giving in other ways that don’t encourage aggressive money solicitation on our streets, such as to the Gateway Center, the Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency or Atlanta Mission.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @BuckheadCID.

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