Reported by Liku Zelleke
The next time you can be bothered enough to feed a homeless person you might find yourself at odds with the law. Yes, you have to be “bothered” because you are under no obligation to help your fellow mankind, who has fallen on hard times and on harder concrete slabs.
That’s right, because if you help homeless people in cities like Daytona Beach, Florida; Raleigh, N.C.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Birmingham, Alabama you could be fined, physically removed and/or be threatened with time behind bars – and they have actually done it.
In fact, 33 cities across the United States have implemented similar policies, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Recently, there were reports that a couple, Debbie and Chico Jimenez, were fined $2000 by the police just because they were feeding the homeless people in Dayton Beach Park on a weekly basis. The couple and two other colleagues refused to pay the ticket and the police eventually dismissed it, but still, it proves that the city is intent on making criminals out of homeless people and also, because of guilt by association, those that try to help them.
The argument that was posed by the city was that the efforts being done by the couple actually worsened homelessness. They claim that by giving food to the people in the parks, Debbie and Chico are coaxing them away from city-run, centralized programs and when they were handing the food out some of the homeless people mistreated the park and frightened other patrons.
Of course, feeding the homeless shouldn’t just be seen as the ultimate solution as it doesn’t address the underlying issue. Robert Marbut, a national homeless consultant makes a point when he says, “You’re never going to get anywhere arresting, priests, pastors and imams in the street.”
But, he also thinks a midway should be found to address the issue.
“Give me a name of one person who got a job because they were fed,” Marbut said. “Feeding alone or giving out clothing or camping equipment doesn’t address the core issues of being homeless.”