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Forums > Social Discussion > U.S. Cities Crack Down on Homeless

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Rovo
GOLD Member since Jul 2003

Rovo

(the person actually known as Chris Bailey)
Location: Austin, TX, USA

Total posts: 544
Posted:Well I found this article yesterday while browsing myspace and I thought it was absolutely deplorable.

Here's the link:

Sister, Drop That Sandwich!

Here's the article:

Nov. 6, 2006 issue - Walking around downtown Orlando, Fla., feels like strolling through "The Truman Show" 's fictional town of Seahaven. But spotless sidewalks, a tidy business district, lush parks and lakes belie a real city with real problems, in particular a burgeoning homeless population that local officials are struggling to control. After a law banning begging outright was struck down by the courts, the city tried regulating panhandlers by issuing them ID cards, then by confining them to three- by 15-foot "panhandling zones" painted on sidewalks. But it wasn't enough, so this summer Orlando tried a supply-side solution, cracking down on churches and activists who had been feeding large groups of homeless people in downtown parks. Now it's not just the panhandlers who risk getting arrested, it's the people trying to help them.

Advocates say anti-feeding ordinances are the latest in a series of municipal efforts to legislate against homelessness. A report this year by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) found double-digit increases since 2002 in laws prohibiting begging, sitting and lying in public places. A week before Orlando passed its ordinance, Las Vegas outlawed giving food to even a single indigent in any city park. The law defines an indigent as a person who appears "to be entitled to apply for or receive" government assistance. "It's revoltingly immoral. It literally enforces a class regime by defining criminal behavior based on income," says Lee Rowland, a public advocate with the ACLU of Nevada, which filed suit in August against the Vegas feeding ban.

"Cities figure that if you quit feeding the homeless, they'll go away," says NCH executive director Michael Stoops. But in Orlando they've kept coming, drawn by warm weather and low-skill service- industry jobs. The homeless population, including seasonal agricultural workers, is estimated at about 7,000; the city has shelter capacity for about 2,000.

Activist and church groups tried to fill the gap with food programs. The largest, run by a group called Food Not Bombs, began giving away meals once a week at Lake Eola, one of Orlando's most pristine parks. Their well-intentioned efforts led to some negative side effects for nearby residents. Police say that crime, along with reports of trespassing and lewd behavior, spiked after many of the large feedings, which often drew hundreds of homeless into some of the nicest parts of downtown. "I was having to pick up human waste from my yard and shoo people out from sleeping in my bushes," says Robert Harding, a local attorney whose office is around the corner from Lake Eola Park.

While the ordinance has reduced the size and frequency of feedings, Food Not Bombs is finding ways around it by feeding from the backs of cars parked across from parks. More than once, it's thumbed its nose at the city by feeding in front of municipal buildings, even city hall, which raises the issue of whether the ban is even enforceablejust as the city prepares to defend it in court. Supported by the ACLU, Food Not Bombs sued to overturn the ban earlier this fall. Food, says the group's head Ben Markeson, "is a right, not a privilege." The city may look like a movie set, but the people lining up for sandwiches aren't actors.
by Matthew Phillips
Newsweek

I can see where the legislators are coming from and why people would be upset but most homeless people are not homeless by choice. I cannot agree with arresting people for charitable acts. What do all of you think about this article?


Peace, Love, Circles

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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.

Total posts: 5276
Posted:That's hilarious!

Those officials are living in disneyland! Do they understand that people die if you don't feed them?


"the now legendary" - Kaskade
"the still legendary" - Kaskade

I spunked in my friend's aquarium and the fish ate it. I love all fish. Especially the pink ones. They are my bitches. - Anon.

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted:sounds like america needs something like the big issue magazine, ive found theres a huuuuge difference in the behaviour of homeless ppl when asking for money, in austria the homeless ppl i saw just sat on the street with a pan out, where as in london i was often worried about being mugged if i said no (on one occasion i said i didnt have any change so the guy then followed me to the local store and sat out the front until i finished shopping then asked me for my change) and in oz i quite often get verbally abused when i say i dont have any money by drunk aborignials who are so drunk they can hardly ask for the money.

I think begging is terrible and should be illegal, with programs like the big issue put in place instead. for two reasons, one i hate getting asked for money and two selling the magazine is so much better for their self worth/having a means to do something about their situation (you might say its not much but i saw a doco on it in oz and the huge impact it has has on peoples lives and most importantly their sense of self worth through self empowerment)

i dont see why the food not bombs group just run their service out of a local church? would seem like an easy way round their problem?


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Bek66


Bek66

Future Mrs Pogo
Location: The wrong place

Total posts: 4728
Posted:My PAGAN church collects food for the NC Food Bank at every gathering.

Problem is...you have to have an address to qualify to use the service of the Food Bank.

Just remember that these are people who are trying to exist in this world the same as we are. We all go thru hard times...consider how you'd feel if you were in their place.

And I do realize that this is part of what you're railing about...Is just so unfair that so many have so much and then there are also so many that have so little!

If only there were not so much greed in the world, I think we could all be healthy, well fed and happy!

There is just no balance in this screwed up world that we live in!


"Absence is to love what wind is to fire...it extinguishes the small, enkindles the great."
--Comte Debussy-Rebutin

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted:giving food is great in the short term i think the big issues teach a man to fish attitude is better as a long term solution by giving them the ppl skills, support, self worth and confidence to get out of the dark place they are in.

In australia there is a ever growning problem of a welfare culture where there are jobs out there but they are low paid (some to the point where u actually get more money on the dole) and hard work so theres no incentive for ppl to do anything to change their circumstances, while our work for the dole program is a good start theres still along way to go.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:most of the homeless are nice around here, i know a few of them by name...had one stay in my house for a while

they all seem to be "crazies" there seem to be just a few regulars or drunks. well, drunks and junkies and crazies all sort of blend with the self medicating. of course some of them may be a bit off because of what they have been through or through their drug use

mostly they do their thing and don't ask for much

its the ones wondering through and trying to get off the east side that panhandle, and the coke junkies



pantries are a blessing...they kept me fed the past three months



(that all came off sort of wrong-homelessness is a problem but the people are not. most have some sort of social security, and many call their dealers on the first. it's sad. the one who stayed with me while exbf was in jail was great...i miss him but i haven't seen him lately. He is sort of scarce having a bad rep and all, but he listens well and knows his problems and knows he isn't willing to deal with them now)

EDITED_BY: faithinfire (1162397757)


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:The bulk of the homelessness issue in the USA is due to a Reagan-era decision to close mental institutions.

Those who are homeless are often so mentally ill that they cannot even apply for government assistance. The vast majority need institutionalization more than anything else.

It's a HUGE problem in New York City. You can't be on the subway more than 10 minutes before someone comes in and starts off with the five most hated words in New York City: "Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen..." And then proceeds to give a sob story and ask for money.

Fact is that most of these people are mentally ill and that feeding them or giving them money only contributes to their drug habits (self medication) and general state of poor health without addressing the underlying problem.

So I choose to give to legitimate charities and I don't give to panhandlers.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted: Written by: Doc Lightning


The bulk of the homelessness issue in the USA is due to a Reagan-era decision to close mental institutions.

Those who are homeless are often so mentally ill that they cannot even apply for government assistance. The vast majority need institutionalization more than anything else.

It's a HUGE problem in New York City. You can't be on the subway more than 10 minutes before someone comes in and starts off with the five most hated words in New York City: "Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen..." And then proceeds to give a sob story and ask for money.

Fact is that most of these people are mentally ill and that feeding them or giving them money only contributes to their drug habits (self medication) and general state of poor health without addressing the underlying problem.

So I choose to give to legitimate charities and I don't give to panhandlers.



I do the same.

And far worse the NYC (which is horrible), LA. I've never seen so many tents on the sidewalk, shopping carts and boxes in one area in my life. Not even at the back side of a mall.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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BansheeCat
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

veteran
Location: lost

Total posts: 1247
Posted:Vancouver, the same.It is the warmest area of Canada, so the homeless migrate here because they may be able to survive the winter, when elsewhere int he country it is liable to kill them. A nightmare. So many more than even ten years ago, so sad and shocking, our economy is thriving. No excuse for it.

We are seeing protests now, cause it is getting too cold for people to be sleeping out on the streets and in the bush . So people are squatting in publicly owned buildings- abandoned ones.Advertising it, publicizing the problem. To point out that the government does in fact already have conveniently located empty buildings they could use to shelter the homeless. Sadly, the mayor says he will not meet with anyone breaking the law by squatting, so will not even discuss possibilities with them.

The police baracaded the building to prevent people from bringing them food and blankets!!!! Shocking. They arrested one woman who tried.

This disgusts me. The mayor should be down there himself spending the night talking it out, bringing food and supplies, not getting the people arrested. Mind you, sometimes the ones squatting let themselves get arrested so they can get some food, warmth and a shower in the prison... Surely that is not the most cost effective option for our government!

Like Doc said, the biggest issue is when they closed the mental hospitals and released everyone into the community without sufficient support.

The only good news I heard today was our provinicial premier acknowledging that mistake and claiming that immediate steps will be taken to remedy the situation.


Years too late, but better now than never. As long as it is now, before it snows...


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I feel like there's always and ebb and flow of cracking down.

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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