City of Montgomery Settles Panhandling Lawsuit
The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Tuesday the city of Montgomery has settled a lawsuit on behalf of people who pandhandle.
The lawsuit was filed in February by the SPLC, ACLU of Alabama, and the National Homelessness Law Center on behalf of people who panhandle filed the lawsuit last February.
As part of the settlement the city of Montgomery will stop ticketing and arresting people who beg for money.
“The city of Montgomery is doing the right thing by ending its enforcement of Alabama’s inhumane and unconstitutional laws that criminalize homelessness and poverty,” said Ellen Degnan, SPLC staff attorney. “Housing, not handcuffs, is the way to end homelessness. While the terms of this settlement – if correctly implemented – will help people who panhandle within the city limits of Montgomery, there are still thousands of Alabamians who remain at risk of being jailed or ticketed for simply asking for help.”
Mayor Steven Reed released a statement saying, “From day-one in office, we have championed justice and equity for everyone in Montgomery. We supported the repeal of an ordinance that could unfairly penalize members of Montgomery’s homeless population. We’re actively working to make sure our administration provides better service and assistance to our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. We look forward to unveiling new support programs in the future. ”
The city also agreed to drop all outstanding charges against people for panhandling and waive any outstanding fines and costs.
The organizations also sued Montgomery County and the state of Alabama for enforcement of the same statutes. That litigation is still pending.
You can read the full settlement here.