Starving for Justice: Rejecting Miami's proposed Homeless Feeding Ordinance
We disagree with the homeless feeding ordinance as proposed by Miami Commissioner Mark Sarnoff. The ordinance will restrict, deter, and imprison, already responsible social welfare organizations and its individuals from proving food to homeless individuals in need of aid. Furthermore, it unfairly targets a population that depends on food from good samaritans to survive. Do we want to let our city send a message to the world that says "We are trying our best to hide the homelessness problems here"? Petitioners feel this proposed ordinance distracts from the real issues involved in homelessness, misidentifies the problems, and puts the burden of responsibility on the wrong people. Sign the petition and show your opposition to the ordinance.
A draft of the proposed ordinance (which may have since underwent further revisions) and official response from StandUp For Kids can be found at: http://coconutgrovegrapevine.com/feeding-homeless.pdf. SdtandUp For Kids is a federally and state-registered 501(c)(3) organization helping homeless and runaway youth.
- City Manager
I respectfully disagree with the spirit and content of the homeless feeding ordinance proposed by Miami Commissioner Mark Sarnoff, set to alter Chapter 37 of the city of the City of Miami.
It is an unreasonable restriction of many social welfare organizations' core function of proving food and basic nutrition to homeless individuals. The Feeding Ordinance requires "a person, representative of a group, representative of a church, a representative of a civic or charitable organization" to satisfy the following: 1) to be registered with the City of Miami, 2) file food receipts annually, 3) attend training annually, 4) provide portable restroom facilities or other restroom facilities, 5) hand washing facilities, 6) wastewater removal, 7) and trash removal ... or face penalties that may include fines and/or jail time.
Details about practicality and road blocks of many of these requirements remain to be determined and therefore remain an ambiguous issue. The ordinance explains that public feeding areas will be established by the City, however no information about the practicality, quantity, and current usability of these feeding zones is known.The ordinance requires written consent from private property owners for food distribution to take place.
Petitioners are concerned that the Feeding Ordinance will restrict, deter, and imprison, already responsible social welfare organizations and its individuals from proving food to homeless individuals in need of aid. Furthermore, it unfairly targets a population that depends on food from good samaritans to survive. Petitioners feel this proposed ordinance distracts from the real issues involved in homelessness, misidentifies the problems, and puts the burden of responsibility on the wrong people.
The City demonstrates it concern for safety and trash removal as their biggest concerns, however we feel that there are alternative methods such as: 1) Provide incentives for trash cleanup amongst the homeless and volunteer groups, 2) fine owners of empty lots for failing to maintain their spaces, 3) provide a greater number of public restrooms, 4) provide a greater number of trash receptacles. Given the city's inability to adequately feed and house its homeless population, The City should seek to set a precedent of organizing and working with the agencies and individuals providing food instead of creating ordinances that will fine and restrict them.
Please drop the proposed homeless feeding ordinance or vote no when it is heard in City Hall.
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