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Columbus, OH 43215


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Columbus City Council Addresses Aggressive Panhandling

On Monday, June 25, 2018, Council passed ordinance 1777-2018 to repeal and replace Chapter 2333 and to amend Section 2171.06 of the Columbus City Codes. This legislation reflects Council’s commitment to balancing investment in human services and protecting public safety. 

Over the past two years, Council met with the Mayor’s Administration, neighborhood community groups from Franklinton, Hilltop and the South Side, Downtown and Short North Special Improvement Districts, Community Shelter Board, Experience Columbus as well as many other local service providers to address the growing safety concerns of residents.

Earlier this year, Council held two public hearings with testimony from outreach workers, business leaders and community members, and drafted amendments to City Code to address aggressive behaviors.

“This is not an attack on poverty or homelessness, but a measure to provide protections for those who give and those who receive,” said Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown.

These amendments do not make asking for money illegal but address specific, unsafe behaviors, such as:

  • Participating in distribution in the right-of-way;
  • Unwanted touching or grabbing while attempting to engage in distribution;
  • Following someone after they have expressed they are unwilling or unable to engage in distribution;
  • Standing within three feet of someone while they are operating an ATM machine; and
  • Blocking the sidewalk, entrance to a building or any other public right-of-way

Distribution is defined as an exchange or an attempt to exchange a physical item between two or more individuals.

Councilmembers continue to work on combating poverty in Columbus, which include housing instability, addiction and mental health. Over the last two years, Council has provided more than $14 million in funding to our community partners:

  • More than $12 million to the Community Shelter Board, which helps provide stable housing  
  • More than $1.2 million to Maryhaven, which provides behavioral health and addiction services
  • More than $600K to Alvis, which provides mental health and addiction services
  • More than $250K to Netcare, which provides crisis response services