August 30, 2019–11:17 p.m.
Rome’s Public Safety Committee decided Friday to have a task force study the issue of homelessness in the city before moving forward with ordinances banning urban camping and aggressive panhandling.
The committee heard from police, fire, advocates for the homeless and citizens during the meeting.
Chair Milton Slack said the ordinances that were proposed were not a vendetta against the homeless.
Police say said the goal of the ordinances was not to put people in jail, rather it was to give them a tool they could use when handling complaints from citizens.
Most of those who spoke indicated the major contributing factor to the homeless problem is a lack of affordable housing.
A number of local agencies have formed the Homelessness Outreach & Partner Engagement Alliance, which sees a 2009 plan called “Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness One Person at a Time” as a good starting point.
The HOPE Alliance is asking for a collaborative effort with the city commission, police, and the fire department moving forward to find the best possible solution.