Tag Archives: homelessness

Regulation of the Day 179: Giving Food to Homeless People

Last Wednesday, three people were arrested in Orlando for giving food to homeless people in a local park. They violated city regulations that require “groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall.” The rules apply to events that give food to over 25 people; the arrestees fed about 40 people.

Their charitable work could cost them each a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. All three are affiliated with a group call Food Not Bombs that regularly gives meals to homeless people. The Wednesday event that led to the arrests was a deliberate resistance to the ordinance. Hopefully they will succeed in overturning it; the last thing government should do when people try to help each other is get in the way.

Regulation of the Day 164: Panhandling

If Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett gets his way, panhandlers will need a government permit to ask people for money if they’re near a road. When panhandlers solicit motorists at intersections, they often have to step into the street. Leggett believes this is a safety hazard that requires a legislative fix.

Roadside panhandling is already illegal under Maryland state law, so the county ordinance is technically redundant. But the state ban appears to not be well enforced; hence the local law. Leggett’s permit proposal is likely a backdoor ban. The permits will exist, and panhandlers can apply for them. But none will be issued.

But suppose a permit does get approved. This would violate state law, would it not? Of course, people still panhandle at intersections anyway. So maybe neither the state nor the county ban matters so much.

(via Dan Mitchell)

Regulation of the Day 160: Sleeping in Public

In Roselle Park, New Jersey, it is against the law to fall asleep in public. It is intended to address Roselle Park’s homelessness problem. Maybe the theory is that if you pass a law banning homelessness, or at least its trappings, nobody will be homeless anymore.

Or maybe it will merely keep them out of sight, and out of mind. After all, it can be depressing to see people sleeping on benches, at bus stops, and in parks. Especially if they clearly have nowhere else to go. And they can’t have that in Roselle Park.