BRANSON, Mo. — Branson’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen have scheduled a study session to talk about homelessness and panhandling in the city as well as resources available in the community for those who are struggling with finding a place to live.
The study session is scheduled for Thursday, June 23, 2022, at Branson City Hall. The meeting, like all study sessions, is open to the public and will be streamed live on the City of Branson’s YouTube page. However, the Mayor and Board members will not hear public comments or take a vote.
In 2019, Branson posted signs encouraging people to donate to charities or organizations that help people who are homeless, instead of giving money to people who are asking for it on the streets. There are ministries and organizations in Branson such as Elevate Branson, the Salvation Army, and Answers to Prayers Boutique and Outreach.
Branson’s Board of Aldermen has not said they are seeking to outlaw panhandling, but here is a look at panhandling laws and issues with them in Missouri in recent years:
Springfield enacted a pedestrian safety law in 2018 that city leaders said was not aimed at panhandling. According to the ordinance’s text, people are no longer allowed stand in the median of major intersections and they’re no longer allowed to move from the median toward a parked car in that intersection.
That same year, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the City of Joplin for limiting panhandling.
In 2021, a homeless man in St. Louis County won a lawsuit after a federal judge ruled the county’s laws against asking drivers for money are unconstitutional.