There is a growing move in the U.S. that is taking many by surprise. The government is cracking down on one of the oldest forms of charity since the first century — feeding the poor. It is hard to believe, but the government is actually fining and jailing people who feed the homeless.
In fact, distributing free food to homeless people is considered illegal in more than 70 U.S. cities including Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, and more. In Fort Lauderdale, a 90-year-old WWII veteran was once actually arrested for feeding the homeless.
The reasons are usually very shallow, and seem to be designed to try and drive homeless people away. Many city officials feel that if efforts are made to keep feeding them, then the problem will only get bigger.
Here are just a few reasons that some cities have cited on their web sites:
- The city is concerned about food safety and making the homeless ill
- The city requires permits (for a fee, of course) in order to distribute free food
- The city has strict food preparation guidelines
- The city requires food distribution to be done indoors only
- The city wants to make homeless people go away
- The city says that food given to the public cannot be prepared in a “non-commercial” kitchen
But does this really make homeless people go away?
Not according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. This non-profit organization says that banning food distribution does not reduce the homelessness rates in cities because the homeless are not there because they want to be; They are there because they cannot find affordable housing, jobs, and many have mental health problems, addictions and physical disabilities for which they know of no place to go for help.
As of January 2015, there were 564,708 people in the U.S. who were homeless.
For more details about homeless people and the banning of food distributions, visit www.nationalhomeless.org