sardia wrote:I looked up the context behind it and there are two goals here. One is assholish, the other is for good reason. The good one is to push the homeless to be fed in areas of social services to get them on their feet. Unregulated feeding results in the homeless spending more time begging instead of getting longterm help.
People aren't bears. Whatever your feelings regarding the autonomy of other organisms, humans are
autonomous; they shouldn't be treated like dogs in need of behavior training. If someone is hungry, it is good, kind, and right to offer them food; full stop.
Isaac Hill wrote:The article also says some cities ban giving out food if the servers don't have a food handling license. That also makes sense. You wouldn't want undertrained people giving out bad food and giving food poisoning to dozens of people with little to no access to health care.
In general I think food offered to the homeless should be placed under the same requirements as food offered to anyone else; that being said, I suspect there is a tendency to be 'over-rigorous' in our examination of food services offered for free (as a way of badgering these organizations).
Basically, the Venn diagram of people who want to feed others for free -- and people who don't give a fuck about food hygiene -- is two circles on opposite sides of the room.
EMTP wrote:1. Is that actually a motive here, or is it the more common one of not wanting to provide services to homeless people so your area does not attract homeless people?
2. Is there any evidence funneling people to "areas of social services" improves their outcomes? I would more suspect that, like sentencing people to AA meetings, it wastes time and money and worsens the experience for those actively seeking help.
Yeah -- I have a strong suspicion that 'funneling people to "areas of social services"' is code word for 'funneling people to areas where they are less visible'. These social services will likely be in low-income parts of the city; funny how that works, isn't it? By forcing the people feeding the homeless to go where we want the homeless to stay -- rather than where the homeless are
-- we get to control where the homeless go (and ultimately stay).
As a Christian, I want to help the people that need help. But, my cynical (or as they put it, "realistic") co-workers have convinced me to be smarter about it. And when you read stories like this one
, it's hard not to become cynical.
Every day, I pass people begging in the train station. Usually the same people over and over again. But, the other day a man came up to me when I was eating lunch, and asked for a dollar or two to help him buy a sandwich at Subway. I said, "Sure, but I'm not going to just give you money. Let me buy you a sandwich." He said, of course, and we walked over to Subway, but then he couldn't decide on which sandwich, and said he would come back up to me when he made up his mind. My co-workers and I were still eating lunch at the same table twenty minutes later, and he never came back. I want to believe the best in people, but sometimes I guess you have to be practical about it. But there are organizations that help, like soup kitchens, and I personally try to help out whenever there's a food pantry drive or the grocery store is selling pre-bagged collections of food.
So, I understand why there are laws like this one. Not just to clean up the streets for tourism, although that's probably one of the reasons. But to make sure that only those that really need help are getting the help, and others aren't just helping themselves.
As a Christian, which strikes you as more important: You
not getting scammed out of five dollars, or me
getting to eat for the night?
Yes: When I ask you for money, I might be lying about what I want to use it for. So what? Are you really so terrified about giving people money under 'false pretenses' that you're going to demand a receipt with every dollar you hand out? Does that really
strike you as the Christian thing to do? Oh God; you might have given five dollars to a secret millionaire posing
as a homeless person! How will you ever live down the crushing shame?!
If someone asks you for money, then clearly they need it for some reason
. Whatever that reason is, it's not your business: Either give them what they're asking for... or don't.
I will never understand people's obsession with 'Not Being Scammed'. Seriously, who cares? It's a couple of frigging dollars -- either you're okay with giving it up to someone or you're not.
Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, there's no doubt plenty of legit people in trouble who are invisible, but this dude gets passed by many thousands of cars every day. The exposure rate here is ludicrous. THIS is why people are concerned about it...because we see it constantly.
See above: Yes, people might be running scams. But I'd rather risk being fooled into giving a rich man a dollar than let a poor man go hungry, so the point is irrelevant.
sardia wrote:What people deserve and need are different things. Money spent giving out food could be better spent giving them a place to stay. Once they have food and shelter you can attack the deeper problem. Are they runaways from a troubled home? Substance abuse? Money problems? Mental or physical problems?
These sound like serious problems!
Maybe rather than trying to solve these problems for
others, you should ask them what help you can offer. And if their response is 'Well, what would help me right now
is a sandwich', then maybe you should just give them a frigging sandwich.
Just a thought.