SMOC Panhandling Outreach Worker Notes

Kevin made a public records request and received a couple of documents that are a more detailed report from SMOC than is found in the city manager’s memo.

Click on the pages for a fuller picture:

As the report states, at least two clients were “engaged by the outreach worker with a goal of receiving Domestic Violence services.” At least three identified themselves as veterans. Very few have stayed at the current triage center.

There’s nothing in the SMOC Outreach Worker notes that indicate how many panhandlers could have their activity classified as “aggressive.”

As should be obvious to longtime readers, I’m opposed to the aggressive panhandling ordinance.

I don’t understand how threatening people with arrest will help an outreach worker build up relationships with homeless/panhandlers.

Any good legislation piece of legislation should begin with the question “What do we want to accomplish?”, then progress to “Can any legislation achieve what we want to accomplish?”, and then craft legislation that will accomplish the goal.  This is, of course, as far from the Worcester Way as one could get.

This ordinance will not reduce the incidence of panhandling — as we’ve seen in Springfield, a similar ordinance has not reduced panhandling numbers.

All this will do is have another ordinance on the books that makes the City Council feel like they’ve done something, and then it can go on the same dusty shelf where the Three Year Plan to End Homelessness resides.

Another way to redesign a parking lot

The Harmony Lot Redesign, Brattleboro, VT:

“Brattleboro’s Harmony Lot – located behind Brooks House – has a lot of potential. It can be much more than just a convenient place to park your car. With a redesign it could become more park-like, a place to bump into friends or sit and enjoy the shade on a warm summer day.”

“The Conway School’s Brattleboro/Windham County Fellow is working with the Town of Brattleboro and adjacent property owners on the redesign of the Harmony Lot. Property owners have developed plans for upgrading the private parking area to the north of the site. The goal of this project is to extend their vision for a more community-centered landscape into the rest of the parking lot. That will include integrating space specifically for pedestrians to use and also places for people to gather.”