Don't Let Them Eat Cake: More US Cities Are Banning Feeding the Homeless
Reading through the latest report from the National Coalition for the Homeless might spark one of those moments when you wonder, what would Marie Antoinette say? French peasants who had no bread to eat were so enraged by rumors that their queen uttered the phrase “Let them eat cake” that she ended up decapitated. Well, the coalition’s modern-day researchers found that since Jan. 2013, twenty-one cities have restricted or flat-out banned feeding the homeless at all - and 10 municipalities have similar ordinances in the works.
At the heart of the bans and restrictions, write the authors, is the misguided belief that feeding people who are sleeping on the streets or in shelters encourages homelessness. Apparently, some of our nation’s politicians and policy makers are convinced that thousands of Americans are so eager for a free bowl from a soup kitchen that they’ll quit their jobs and begin sleeping in doorways and on bus benches to get it.
...The coalition’s researchers note that programs that provide people with meals are often “the only way some homeless individuals will have access to healthy safe food on a given day.” They go on to clarify that people become or remain homeless because of “lack of affordable housing, lack of job opportunity, mental health or physical disability” - not because someone’s giving them a plate of chicken.
Read the rest at TakePart
Photo: Con Tanasiuk/Getty Images
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