USAToday reports on efforts by cities to regulate the distribution of food to the homeless:
Cities are cracking down on charities thatfeed the homeless, adopting rules that restrict food giveaways tocertain locations, require charities to get permits or limit the numberof free meals they can provide. Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas and Wilmington, N.C., began enforcing such laws last year. Some are being challenged. LastNovember, a federal judge blocked the Las Vegas law banning foodgiveaways to the poor in city parks. . . .
"Goingafter the volunteers is new," says Michael Stoops of the NationalCoalition for the Homeless. "They think that by not feeding people, itwill make the homeless people leave." Cityofficials say the rules were prompted by complaints about crime andfood safety. Some say they want control over locations so homelesspeople can also get services such as addiction counseling and jobtraining.
"The feedings were happeningseveral times a week" in parking lots and sidewalks downtown, saysDewey Harris, director of Wilmington's Community Services Department."A lot of the merchants said, 'We feel uncomfortable when you have allthese homeless being fed downtown when we're trying to attracttourists.' "