Criminals Feeding the Homeless

 

     Increasing numbers of cities are criminalizing feeding the homeless in public, as my Seattle friends Robin Sneed and Fred De Camp did at one time with their Counter Project, bringing food, drink.

     HuffPo’s Robbie Couch tells us that when the National Coalition for the Homeless began publishing which American cities have seriously restricted/banned publicly feeding homeless people, it hoped to embarrass officials.

     I don’t know where the Coalition thinks it lives.

     Not only are those cities unabashed, they’re encouraging yet more cities to do it.

     Mr. Couch tells us that thirty-three cities and as yet uncounted smaller jurisdictions criminalized the public feeding of homeless persons as far back as April 2014, and more have since.

      These cities include Ft. Lauderdale, Lake Worth, Daytona Beach, St. Pete (FL); Seattle, Olympia* (WA); Harrisburg*, (PA); Houston (TX); Shawnee (OK); Costa Mesa, Chico, Hayward, (CA); Raleigh*, Charlotte (NC); Columbia* (SC); Manchester, (NH); Lafayette, (IN); St. Louis, MO); Salt Lake City, (UT); and Medford, (OR).

      The war isn’t against poverty, against homelessness, of course; it’s a war on the poor, on the homeless.

     Last month, Mr. Couch reports, a Florida couple, retirees, were fined $700 for feeding hot meals to the homeless in Daytona Beach.

     Why?

     Cities make dough with these vicious rules. Houston, for instance, has fined social justice groups up to $2,000 for violating no-food-for-homeless-persons ordinances.

     It’s a hell of a way to tread on the least among us to make up for lousy budgeting priorities and poor fiscal management.

     And two days after the Ft. Lauderdale law went into effect, Arnold Abbott, 90 years-old, a longtime homeless-advocate and  soup kitchen volunteer, was arrested for giving food to the needy. He may get – though he was fast back to feeding the destitute despite his arrest  — sixty days. Mr. Abbott (and pastors arrested with him) know what that ancient rabbi is said by his friend, Matthew, to have taught about our poorest even if pols ignore it. (What you do to the least of us you do to me.)

     Those running some of our cities? They’ve lost their way.

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