Pasadena could face a legal challenge to new ordinances that attempt to combat panhandling.
The ordinances make it illegal to block public walkways with personal property, to block passage while panhandling, or to approach a person in a “threatening” manner while panhandling. They would give police the power to remove belongings of homeless people and arrest aggressive panhandlers.
Homeless advocates said the laws will perpetuate a cycle of arrest and release but the city’s mayor Terry Tornek says they are designed to address residents’ concerns and not “to criminalize homeless people,” the Pasadena Star News reported.
Will Watts, an attorney for the Homelessness Prevention Law Project, said the ordinances could violate due process because it allows the police to seize personal property at their discretion. The city intends to hold property for 30 days.
The city is also trying to provide more housing for the homeless, Torneck said. Marv’s Place, a 20-unit supportive housing project opened earlier this year with funding from Pasadena’s housing department. [PSN] — Chava Gourarie