Re: Should feeding the poor without permits be a crime?

Tom Boland (
Thu, 27 May 1999 17:52:13 -0700 (PDT)

Well said, Matt.  Thanks for replying.  We need to think about public
health for all, homeless people included.

The Big Issue, as you say below, indeed is "quality of life" rules and law
-- plus (I think) the originator's intent, and the "net impact" on poor and
homeless people.

Food permits are not required for "traditional families" to feed their
members, nor are they required usually for church picnics or Boy Scout
campouts.  (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

So why are rules and enforcement so often _targeted_ to groups that feed
homeless people, especially activist groups, such as Food Not Bombs?

Because others want homeless people OUT of prized public areas, which
business and the affluent view as "thier own" -- and want No Audible
Complaints about our "political economy" (which may be "healthy" for folks
at the top, but appears to be "killing and malnourishing" poor folks at the

>Like any activity involving things that "attract" numbers of people (homeless
>or otherwise), ALL aspects of feeding operations need to be considered.
>   A local example; the Salvation Army runs a mobile canteen truck to the
>edge of the local welfare office parking lot - right across the street from a
>residential area. They started doing this, without serious impact. Then they
>got the idea of dropping a picnic table there to "make things nicer". Well it
>might have been nicer for the 45 minutes of dining time; the rest of the time
>that table served as a open-air cocktail lounge for the 40 oz and Mad Dog
>set. Neighbors started getting pissed off.  The table was removed and the
>propblem resolved. People who feed homeless people need to be mindful of all
>ways their good intentions impact the immediate neighbors and the community
>at large. This is a bigger "quality of life" issue than the possibility of
>poorly prepared food.   Matt Parkhouse, RN, Colorado Springs, CO

5,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy