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Posts Tagged ‘Fort Lauderdale’

Students Promoting Fairness – #SPF15

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Civil Rights, Community Organizing, Food Sharing

To my classmates,

Spring Break is right around the corner and it is on all of our minds. Will you join your peers and flock to warmer climates and sandy beaches? We all deserve some time off to relax and turn off our brains. But while I’m still studying away, I’ve been thinking about how my decisions as a consumer impact the town I’m visiting and the people who live there. I’m willing to drop a cool $100 for a view of the beach, but at what human cost?

Are drinks by the pool and tickets to concerts the only cost of spring break?

Many vacation and spring break destinations compete for our business. For them, reputation is everything, and unfortunately being nice to homeless people isn’t exactly a trait we tourists are often looking for. For that reason, cities introduce ordinances to keep the streets clean of all visible reminders that poverty exists. They don’t want us to share food with the homeless people near our hotels, beaches and restaurants. They don’t want us to see a man sleeping on the park bench or a mother and her child asking for money on the public transportation system. Public lands near our vacation hot spots are no longer a place of rest for the homeless. New laws passed by cities throughout the country ban sleeping outside, asking for money and prohibit private citizens from sharing food with the homeless. These ordinances make criminals out of people who are homeless.

The most outrageous thing is that they are even punishing the people who are trying to help the homeless! Fort Lauderdale is one mean city that continuously threatens people with massive fines and jail-time for feeding others in public spaces. The city wants them to move indoors and out of sight, not considering how difficult it is for the homeless people to get around the city to all the many places they must go to try to get help.

Do you really want to go to a beach that only allows people who can afford a $14 daiquiri to enjoy the view? I don’t – and I know what I am going to do about it. I won’t give them my business! I will not condone a city starving its most vulnerable residents for my sake. I will not visit Fort Lauderdale until they repeal the cruel food-sharing ban. Instead, I pledge to support cities that work to end homelessness by creating affordable housing, job training programs, access to affordable health care and an increase in the availability in public assistance.

Students Promoting Fairness

Be a Student Promoting Fairness! Pledge #SPF15 this spring break and make your week mean something! Don’t let cities profit from discrimination and criminalization of the homeless!

Deirdre Walsh

Student Activist

New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Civil Rights, Community Organizing, Food Sharing

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On Tuesday, October 21, Fort Lauderdale Commissioners will vote on a proposed ordinance that will severely limit the capabilities of groups to distribute food to people experiencing homelessness. According to our research, over 30 American cities that have tried to introduce similar legislation in the past two years.

The new report, Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Needdocuments the recent known cases of food-sharing restrictions throughout the country. Since January 2013, 21 cities have restricted the practice of sharing food with people who are experiencing homelessness while at least ten others have introduced ordinances that are pending approval.

These restrictions primarily come about in three different forms; the first is by restricting the use of public property. In this scenario, individuals and organizations are generally required to obtain a permit, often for a fee, to share food in a park or in another public space. 12 cities have recently passed legislation that imposes this type of restriction.

The second type of legislative restriction is to require groups to comply with city/county/state food-safety regulations. Since January 2013, four cities have passed legislation that required individuals and organizations to comply with their food-safety regulations when sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.

The last method utilized to deter food-sharing are community actions driven by the principle of “Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)”. Often, local businesses and homeowners do not want to attract people experiencing homelessness to their community join together to put pressure on local government or directly on individuals and organizations that share food with people experiencing homelessness. These groups are harassed and in result feel compelled to relocate their food-sharing efforts or cut the program all together. Since January 2013, four cities have successfully utilized this tactic, with local community pressure, to pass legislation to restrict sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.

Share No MoreThis year’s food-sharing report attempts to address the myths and motivations that often drive the demand for food-sharing restrictions. While the evidence is overwhelming that this practice is too common, there are some success stories that prove that these restrictions do not need to stand. Citizens can use the same community pressure to stop these laws from taking effect. Some faith-based organizations have led the fight to protect their First Amendment Right to openly practice their religion. There are a number of policies we can advocate for on the local, state, and federal level to protect the civil rights of those experiencing homelessness.

Since January, 2013 the following 22 cities have passed ordinances that restrict the food-sharing process.

Public Property:

Food Safety:

Forced Relocation:

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Lake Worth, FL
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Houston, TX
  • Shawnee, OK
  • Costa Mesa, CA
  • Chico, CA
  • Hayward, CA
  • Manchester, NH
  • Olympia, WA
  • Columbia, SC
  • Medford, OR
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Pasadena, CA
  • Lafayette, IN
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Seattle WA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • St. Petersburg, FL

 For more information about food-sharing restrictions please read this year’s report and/or contact the National Coalition for the Homeless.

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