The City of Branson's Board of Aldermen Study Session to address the issues of Homelessness and Panhandling featured presentations by several organizations in the community.
Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews presented a general overview highlighted in a previous story and coordinated with other speakers which included Lisa Marshall from the Taney County Health Department, Bryan Stallings of Elevate Branson, Marietta Hagan representing the OWN It Health Coalition, and Lela Cook of Burrell Behavioral Health. The speakers addressed many issues and some programs that are already underway to help.
Among some of the information that came out of the meeting:
-The issues of Homelessness and Panhandling are separate issues. Many of the folks that panhandle in and around Branson are not homeless, they are collecting money for the living expenses.
-Several organizations are already working on solutions with several speakers encouraging and Mayor Larry Milton saying the the city will get more involved in some of these efforts.
-City officials need to consult with the area's State Legislators to promote laws that can help institute more proactive solutions.
-Work that was done just prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic to educate the public on smart giving needs to be released.
The complete Study Session can be seen through the City of Branson Website.