Advocates for Homeless Population Target Peoria's Panhandling Ordinance

Aug 28, 2018

Credit Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations are challenging Peoria’s panhandling ordinance.

The ACLU, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness says a letter demanding repeal of the ordinance is being delivered today.

Peoria is one of 15 Illinois municipalities targeted. The other communities are Aurora, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, Cicero, Danville, Decatur, East St. Louis, Elgin, Joliet, Moline, Oak Park, Rockford and Urbana.

Diane O'Connor of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless says panhandling laws unfairly criminalize people experiencing homelessness for exercising their rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled panhandling is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.