Feed Me

The Houston City Council again tackles the “Feeding” Ordinance today. This Ordinance was originally presented as a solution to the problem of multiple food distribution sites for Houston’s homeless.

Many communities of faith and non-profit organizations take lunches to the homeless that gather in the same spots on a regular basis. Individuals also take food, blankets, water and other necessary items to those most in need.

Personally, this Blogger doesn’t think that the Mayor anticipated the firestorm she would create by touching on this most basic of human social services. The Mayor simply proposed a solution that would regulate the locations and times of food distribution for those that regularly engage in this process.

Communities of faith and non-profit organizations were not keen on the idea. The intense discussion of this Ordinance has now taken over a month. The Mayor presented a much watered down version this week and it still generated numerous public speakers. The Public session of Council yesterday was so raucous that people were even removed from Chambers.

Why all this drama? Dealing with the homeless is a complex issue. There are never enough answers or solutions to address the ever increasing problem of those who live on the streets or are on the edge of doing so. Many people consider it their “duty” to help the homeless as a part of their belief system. Yet, we don’t often know the best path to offer to help. We still hand the guy on the corner a dollar even when we know it is not going to resolve anything.

This issue has evoked more passion at City Hall than most of the major issues Council has addressed over the last year or so.

Council will vote today on this passionate issue.

2 Comments

  1. A complex issue indeed. There is always tension between the short term need (the hungry person in front of you that just needs a sandwich), and the long term need (getting this person back into society with their basic needs being met). The main human safety net (one’s immediate family) has often been torn, and thus the downward spiral continues. So often there are underlying issues of addiction and untreated mental illness, and frankly no peanut butter & jelly sandwich in the world is going to fix that. Thankfully there are smarter people than me working on this issue….

  2. Anytime you criminalise sharing, you are going to upset those that feel called upon to share. I have real trouble understanding why giving food to a homeless person should be illegal.

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