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Illegal to be a Good Samaritan

Written by admin on . Posted in Awareness, Civil Rights, Criminalization, Food Sharing, Hunger

When did we start expecting that sharing a meal with the hungry and homeless is illegal?

Homeless People Deserve Food TooNCH often receives calls from generous individuals and organizations who wish to feed the homeless in their city.  They call with reasonable questions, aware of the potential illegality of helping others, to ask about food distribution bans or restrictions in their area.  Within the last two years (2013-2015) over 26 cities and communities have passed laws restricting the distribution of food to the homeless, and the number is growing every year.  Those kind enough to want to feed the hungry must jump through hoops and navigate red tape simply to share food with others.

Food-sharing restrictions do not address the root causes of homelessness and poverty in the United States.  Instead, they create barriers for those trying to help.  And yet, over time, these restrictions on food sharing have become the norm.  The idea that sharing meals with others should be regulated by the law is no longer a surprise to most people, in fact, it is expected.

Our societal entrenchment in rules and regulations slows our ability to express kindness and generosity for others.  In order to address poverty, hunger, and homelessness, we must find a way to break free of this attitudinal obstacle and take thoughtful action, free of restraint.

Take a look at our October, 2014 report “Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People in Need” for more details on the state of bans in the country.

-Kara Kennedy
NCH Summer Intern

Michael Stoops

Written by admin on . Posted in Advocacy

We are sad to report that Michael Stoops, Director of Community Organizing, is on medical leave as of June 10, 2015. We ask that Michael’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.

Michael and MitchMichael has been a driving force towards ending homelessness for more than 30 years. He has touched so many lives in his tireless work on behalf of those experiencing extreme poverty.

We also ask for your patience as our responses to inquiries about NCH programs and activities may be delayed.

 

#Heart4TheHomeless

Written by admin on . Posted in Advocacy, Speakers' Bureau

This is the power of the men and women of the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau:

In February, the 6th Grade class of Alice Deal Middle School, here in Washington, DC, listened to T. Sanders and John Harrison talk about their experiences with homelessness.  T with her Master’s Degree and John, a clean-cut soft-spoken man, do not fit the stereotype of someone who is homeless. They are both eloquent and motivational speakers, and boy did they motivate.

#Heart4TheHomelessEvery year, students at Alice Deal Middle School dedicate one day near the end of the year to giving back. The students decide what they’d like to do for the day, often volunteering for a low-income meal program or environmental project.

For the last several months, 6th grade students have been working with local homeless advocates to plan a rally in support of a measure that would add housing status to Washington, DC’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Says one student,

‘I want it to be a chance for the community to stand up for someone more. For people to actually do something.’ Has this project motivated the students to work for homeless rights in the future? ‘Absolutely.’

The rally will be held at Freedom Plaza in downtown DC, Wednesday, June 3rd at 10am.

Stay tuned to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for more on #Heart4TheHomeless.

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