Wednesday, 17 January 2007 00:00
Homeless FMWritten by WGCU Newsroom
The Fort Myers City Council decided to postpone its vote last night on an ordinance that would make it illegal to distribute free food in the city’s public parks. Which critics say translates to making it against the law to feed the homeless.
Ordinance number 3371 follows a similar resolution passed unanimously by the Fort Myers City Council last year.
It doesn’t actually include the word homeless – but it creates requirements for the distribution of donated or complimentary food in Fort Myers’ city parks.
Michael Stoops is the Executive Director of the Washington D-C based National Coalition for the Homeless.
“We want to go on record that this is a tragedy. And that the impact of this will be copied and emulated around the rest of the country. And when Fort Myers passed the first resolution in April 05 it was a chilling impact and a number of church groups quit feeding the poor because they did not want to go to jail.”
Stoops says Orlando passed a similar law last summer – which his organization is challenging in court. Only Las Vegas has a similar law against feeding the homeless in city parks. Stoops says if passed he fears other cities are likely to follow.
The Council will address the issue again in March.