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Wooster Officials Consider Charging the Homeless for Refusing Shelter

Wooster is the Wayne County seat and has a population of about 25,000.
Wooster is the Wayne County seat and has a population of about 25,000.

Wooster officials are meeting on Monday, December 3 to consider an ordinance that will charge the homeless with misdemeanors for refusing to seek shelter.

The first offense will be a $150 fine, which is similar to a speeding ticket. The second offense will be a fourth-degree misdemeanor with a fine of $250 and 30 days of jail time.

City Law Director John Scavelli says the ordinance is not about penalties, but making sure that those in need get shelter.

“The point of the ordinance is to communicate with those who are in need and to help them engage with the services that are available to them. That they may not know about or may have trouble getting to. That’s really the point of it.”

Scavelli says that individuals who are restricted from entering available shelters will not be fined or charged.

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Tia is a senior journalism major at Kent State University with experience in broadcast, print, visual and digital journalism. Tia works as a member of Kent State student media's TV2 and is an ambassador for the College of Communication and Information.