Wednesday, November 05, 2014

2 Pastors and 90-year-old activist charged with feeding the homeless

This story has gone viral.

It's true that homeless people bring with them a host of social problems.

This ban on feeding the homeless is intended to hide those problems in this prime tourist destination. Who wants grubby homeless men peeing on the sidewalk and leaving their cigarette butts everywhere?

That being said, just because one has a desirable goal-- that of containing social problems-- doesn't mean that homeless people-- or those who feed them-- lose their human rights.

The purpose of this policy is to essentially destroy street life, where you eat, sleep, and do everything on the street.

In a city memo calls this the Housing First policy: get the homeless into housing first, treat their other problems later.

I don't believe homelessness is a right. It's every adult's responsibility to find proper shelter. Homelessness is not a right. That being said: what happens if a homeless person doesn't like this government management of his life?  What if he doesn't want to live in social housing he doesn't like the conditions to which he is subject if he wishes to keep his housing? Do homeless adults lose the right to manage their lives just because they lack shelter?

In that context, the criminalization of feeding homeless people seems very discriminatory. They can't eat because the government wants them in social housing and they don't have a choice on the matter?