Want to feed the homeless? Be prepared to pay the government for the privilege
by Michelle Chen
Posted November 18, 2014
Cities are enacting politics to keep homeless people out of sight and uphold a social order driven by racial and economic inequality. Homeless people, by definition, have nowhere to go – but now in many cities, they have even fewer options. While real estate developers tout “green space” and the economic “revitalisation” of urban landscapes, it’s the sidewalks, parks and plazas that have become hostile territory for the poor. City lawmakers are trying to “clean up” the streets by barring homeless people from parks, shunting families into overcrowded shelters and, in some places, making it a crime even to help the homeless.
Last week, when a 90 year-old activist got arrested for feeding local homeless people at the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, his outrage pointed to a nationwide trend of criminalizing compassion in the United States. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, since the start of 2013, 21 cities have imposed measures to restrict people from sharing food with the needy in public. More…