At its March 21, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council heard a presentation from its street outreach task force, which the council appointed at its Sept. 20, 2010 meeting and charged with developing cost effective recommendations for addressing the issue of downtown panhandling and the needs of those who panhandle. [Previous Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Task Force Consults Panhandlers"]
Highlights of the report include recommendations that: (1) the city council revise the city’s ordinance on solicitation to prohibit panhandling in additional locations; (2) the police chief increase police attention downtown during the busiest hours of the week; (3) the city’s community standards division increase their interaction with the public; and (4) the mayor’s downtown marketing task force take an expanded role working with residents, merchants and service providers.
The task force report describes an educational campaign to advise downtown visitors and University of Michigan students about options they have besides giving money to panhandlers, a campaign with the slogan “Have a Heart, Give Smart.” [.pdf of street outreach task force report]
This brief was filed from the boardroom in the Washtenaw County administration building, where the council is meeting due to renovations in the city hall building. A more detailed report will follow: [link]