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City and County Laws Targeting Homeless and Groups for Feeding Homeless People

Updated on November 17, 2014

Volunteers fined $300 for feeding homeless in Daytona park!

Debbie and Chico Jimenez determined to fight in court to continue feeding homeless.
Debbie and Chico Jimenez determined to fight in court to continue feeding homeless. | Source
Homeless persons line up for the home-cooked meals served by Christian volunteers.
Homeless persons line up for the home-cooked meals served by Christian volunteers. | Source
The homeless feeding program continued without problems for a year, until complaints by locals about homeless activity in the park.
The homeless feeding program continued without problems for a year, until complaints by locals about homeless activity in the park. | Source

Police Issue Citations for Feeding Homeless in Daytona Park

Proverbs 30: 14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. (NKJB)

Daytona police issued several citations on May 7, 2014, to good Samaritans volunteers for feeding the homeless without a permit at Manatee Island Park in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Florida retirees Debbie and Chico Jimenez have been feeding homeless people in the park every Wednesday for over a year, according to the Daily Mail.

Both of the Jimenez's and several other volunteers were issued citations with a $300 fine and informed they could face jail time, if they continue to feed homeless crowds without a permit.

After locals complained about homeless persons relieving themselves in public or showing up to the program drunk, police moved to stop the charitable feeding event.

Other locals were concerned with the possibility of ex-convicts or sexual predators coming to the family-friendly park to get fed.

If that were the case, shouldn't police target the sexual predators that should not be at the park, rather than the good Samaritans for feeding the homeless?

The Jimenez' couple contend that in a year of feeding homeless people at the park, no one has ever told them it was illegal.

"We've been down there a year, and the police have been around and not one of them has ever said a word," Chico Jimenez said, according to the Daily Mail.

The police and locals seem to believe that by feeding homeless people once a week, that they are enabling them to be homeless or creating more of them at the park, according to Jimenez.

Columbia, S.C. Makes being Homeless a Crime

Columbia Votes Unanimously on Making Homelessness Illegal

Democratic Councilman Cameron Runyan spearheaded the Emergency Homeless Response that was approved unanimously by the Columbia City Council in August of 2013, according to Freakout Nation.

In what is obviously another Democratic abuse of power, it was decided that the Columbia City Council would use the police to rid the city of unwanted persons, with police round-ups of some 1,518 homeless individuals.

Homeless persons caught in Columbia will be given the choice of going to jail, or taken to what some are calling a fenced in FEMA camp that was designed for 240 occupants, outside of the city limits.

The Charlotte Observer saw Columbia's law in a wholly different light, having this to say; " Columbia City Council’s plan to remove homeless people from downtown by offering services elsewhere is an attempt to preserve a resurging city center, promote a more business-friendly atmosphere and make Main Street attractive to more visitors and investors," according to the Charlotte Observer.

Of course, Charlotte, N.C. had to sweep as many as 5000 homeless people under the rug, so to speak, when they hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Ahead of the DNC, city officials made changes making it illegal to camp or sleep on public property, carry backpacks, and other activities targeting the homeless.

Those of the Democratic party, who used to protest for equal civil rights, are now secure enough in their rights to violate the civil rights of those they obviously don't view as being equal.

Although, the homeless of Charlotte shouldn't be too discouraged by the DNC folks kicking them out ahead of the convention, they were in good company, as the DNC folks also kicked God out during the convention.

Coast to Coast Persecution of Homeless in America!

Feeding the Homeless Shouldn't be Illegal

Southern Legal Counsel Fights Targeting of Homeless

SLC's Homeless Advocacy Project Defends the Civil and Human Rights of the Homeless

The project has two main goals: 1) to combat the criminalization of homelessness and 2) identify and address the systemic issues faced by homeless individuals and their advocates that violate their civil and human rights, according to SLC's website.

The housing crisis of America has also magnified the crisis of homelessness, leaving many more homeless persons to fend for themselves and struggle to survive on the streets of American cities.

As a result, many cities and counties all across Florida have targeted the homeless, by increasingly criminalizing and punishing many activities associated with or necessary to survival as a homeless person.

This use of the criminal justice system to target homeless individuals designed to either force them into governmental programs or to force their relocation to other municipalities is discriminatory and violates a homeless persons civil rights.

These targeting measures take various forms, such as; prohibiting sleeping or camping, eating, sitting, storing personal property, or begging in public spaces w/o a permit.

These types of ordinances are a violation of equal protection under the law and are enforced in a discriminatory manner, according to precedents in law.

On May 20, 2010,Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) signed a bill into law (HB11) that added homeless persons to the list of protected classes in Florida's Hate Crimes legislation.

While adding homeless persons to Florida's list classes protected by hate crime laws, it did nothing to protect Florida's homeless population from city and county ordinances targeting homeless behavior.

In May of 2013, Pensacola officials passed several ordinances against homeless activities, that included covering up with a newspaper or blanket, even to stay warm in cold weather.

Fortunately for the homeless, some officials with a little more common sense, fought until they over-turned the blanket ban.

These laws are clearly designed to target and criminalize homeless behaviors, with the blanket ban giving a homeless person the choice of freezing to death or going to jail.

While, it is understandable that business owners don't want panhandlers outside of their businesses, and nobody wants to be harassed by an aggressive panhandler, it has already been established by precedent that homeless persons can ask for help or beg for assistance under certain conditions.

Laws Against the Homeless in America

Should local laws targeting the homeless be over-turned?

See results

Poll of the homeless' views!

In asking homeless that panhandled or begged for assistance about their situation, several answers stood out.

  1. The worst day for "flying sign" is usually Sunday, after churches services let out.
  2. That Christians were more likely to help with food, clothes, blankets or tents, but usually not money.
  3. That according to race, black people were far more likely to help out those panhandling with money or food. (They must know what hard times are like.)
  4. That the police are more likely to haul you off to jail for "flying sign," than most other "homeless offenses."
  5. The over-whelming majority of the homeless, that live outside of the shelters or other government programs, do so because of the dangerous circumstances within those programs. (Theft of their few personal possessions or assault were noted as typical.)
  6. That there are more homeless people now, than anytime in the recent decades. America can barely create jobs for recent qualified college graduates, much less those who are out-of-work, homeless, and not as presentable as other job applicants.
  7. Please remember that all homeless persons are still human, with a story to tell, needs that have to be met, with feelings and often with others that love them.


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    • slcockerham profile image

      slcockerham 4 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Hey cmlindblom,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub. You are right, we are all entitled to our opinions and our own free speech. For myself, I will defend your right to that, even if we totally disagree. Yes, you understood that correct, they got the fine for feeding a crowd without a permit. Apparently, a birthday party doesn't need a permit, and they were celebrating someone's birthday every week. Of course, with over a hundred people that was entirely possible.

      If you look at the other videos, you will see that people are also going to jail for feeding the homeless or for sleeping in their car in California. But don't all people deserve equal protection under the Constitutional law of America? Personally, I have worked with homeless people for years and many are victims of circumstances, such as a job loss during this recession, a woman leaving a bad or dangerous situation, one medical emergency, being evicted, etc...

    • cmlindblom profile image

      Chris 4 years ago from middletown, ct

      Nice hub! I am not on the side of the homeless though. It may be viewed as heartless but I am not an advocate for helping everyone in need. I know that by saying this people are instantly going to get frustrated but just remember, this is my personal opinion. It is not wrong to have an opinion so don't judge me too harshly. Let me get this straight though, they only got the citation because they don't have a permit? I can completely understand this. Also by feeding homeless people like that makes it so there are higher densities of homeless in certain areas. I don't know, I am not a lawmaker or anything but that's just what I am understanding. I like your hub though except for the poll which seems a little bias haha but if that's how you wanted it good on you.

    • slcockerham profile image

      slcockerham 4 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Hey LongTimeMother,

      Great points! Our politicians don't have much in the area of foresight of future consequences. Almost any average Joe off the street has more understanding than America's politicians. I'm sorry to hear that Australia is in similar shape. No offense intended. Here, they want new criminals to feed the prison system! Mostly, private prison system.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Good point. Can't help but wonder if our new Prime Minister has given thought to the number of young people who would turn to prostitution, selling drugs, robbing little old ladies etc if he makes them desperate enough. I'm hoping the Opposition and the Greens will block his stupidity.

    • slcockerham profile image

      slcockerham 4 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Hey LongTimeMother,

      Thanks for your comments on these "heartless laws." The budget situation doesn't sound good in Australia either. Are you kidding me, under 30s to wait 6 months before receiving unemployment benefits! Maybe to help balance the budget, nations should make politicians wait 6 months before they receive a paycheck for screwing up our economies!

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      What a disgrace. I hope these people receive the support they need to have such heartless laws changed.

      Mind you, after the release of Australia's proposed Budget yesterday in which young people under the age of 30 would be expected to wait 6 months before applying for Unemployment Benefits, Australian parks will probably be needing visits from Debbie and Chico Jimenez. If the proposed Budget is not successfully blocked, perhaps they'd like to migrate to Australia. :)

      Voted up and shared.