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Panhandling still a concern for Lorje
Community support officers are working in Saskatoon to monitor street activity. Part that is offering resources for alternative employment and housing to panhandlers, but one city councilor is concerned the issue is still prevalent.
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:36PM CST
City Councillor Pat Lorje wants to see a tougher stance on panhandling in Saskatoon.
Lorje said she’s concerned that there are certain spots in the area that need harsher enforcement in order to keep the city streets clean and safe.
“If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it’s probably a drug dealer selling small amounts of whatever right on the street corners and we need to stop that,” Lorje said.
The city has hired Community Support Officers (CSOs) to monitor questionable activity on city streets, and they are available to businesses and community members who want to report panhandling. However, their purpose isn’t to punish, but to encourage alternative sources of income and accommodation.
A report discussed Tuesday by a city committee found that CSOs assisted 488 individuals between July and December or 2012.
Lorje commended the CSOs for their work in the community, but warned that offering resources isn’t always enough to get people off the streets.
“For those people who have decided it’s a lucrative and easy way of making a living, you discourage them through judicious use of the bylaw,” she said.