On any given night, roughly half a million people in the United States are homeless. In Missouri alone, approximately 6,500 people are homeless on any given day. Homeless populations create health, safety, and financial complications for municipalities. A strategy used by many municipalities to control these complications is the passage of ordinances restricting the actions of homeless populations. Commonly, these laws restrict solicitation, colloquially known as panhandling. Some laws ban panhandling altogether. While panhandling ordinances may have been a feasible solution in the past, a recent United States Supreme Court decision, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, has rendered many of these laws unconstitutional by limiting the circumstances under which municipalities may restrict speech. Though the Supreme Court handed down Reed over seven years ago, local governments have been slow to update their laws to comply with the new standard
Show-Me the Money: Outdated Solicitation Laws Expose Municipalities to Liability,
87 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol87/iss4/9