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Pensacola considers changing ordinance - blankets on public property
PENSACOLA -- The City of Pensacola is feeling the backlash from its ordinance that bans blankets and tents from public property.
Last summer, the city passed an ordinance on homelessness. It limits where people could go to the bathroom, shower and sleep.
The part that has caused the most outrage is the fact blankets are outlawed.
Following quite a bit of criticism both nationally and internationally, the City and Mayor Ashton Hayward appear poised to make some changes.
It was the Mayor who originally sponsored the ordinance. but now he's asking the City Council to change the law.
Activist Nathan Monk had a lot to do with that. Many people felt it was inhumane to deny the homeless warmth.
So after not getting anywhere with City Council. He took the issue to the rest of the world -it went viral. Now more than 12.000 people have signed a petition on
Monk said, "I was impressed when we got to 500, then 1000, then 10,000. It then went everywhere. International media has picked it up. It has kind of gone all over the place."
As the news spread, some publications ripped Pensacola apart.. One even putting it in running for the most horrible city in the planet.
That got City leaders to listen. City councilman, Larry Johnson, said, "I've gotten hundreds of e-mails from people all over the world." He continued, "We've realized maybe it went too far with this ordinance"
City Council is considering changing the wording that bans blankets, sleeping bags, and cardboard.
Thursday, the City Council will vote on adding the ordinance to their agenda. If that passes, they will vote on removing some wording in the ordinance that bans the blankets. They will also discuss creating a task force to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
City Hall is holding a blanket drive from Wednesday, February 12th through Wednesday, February 19th. On Thursday, February 20th, all donated blankets with be delivered to local shelters and missions.