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Giving Compass' Take:
• Joanna Prisco reports that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals officially ruled that feeding the homeless is a protected right in America.
• An organization called Food Not Bombs argued a city ordinance in Florida that did not allow individuals to share food with homeless people in public parks. This law is no longer in effect, but will this change people's attitudes toward the homeless?
• Check out the Giving Compass Homelessness Guide for donors.
Though you might not have realized the issue was up for debate, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals officially ruled that feeding the homeless is “expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.”
The decision was made during a dispute between the organization Food Not Bombs and the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for requiring a permit to share food in public parks, reported Forbes.
While Food Not Bombs is not a charity, for years it has hosted a weekly event in Stranahan Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, serving free vegetarian and vegan meals to the public. Many of the participants at these gatherings are homeless individuals, according to the report.
In 2014, the city enacted an ordinance making it illegal to share food in public parks without a “conditional use permit” and complying with the city’s social service regulations for “outdoor food distribution centers,” reported Upworthy.
“The court’s opinion recognized sharing food with another human being is one of the oldest forms of human expression,” Kirsten Anderson, litigation director at the Southern Legal Counsel and lead attorney on the case, told Forbes.
“We think this decision strengthens our message to cities across the country that they need to invest in constructive solutions to homelessness instead of wasting government resources on punishing people who seek to offer aid.”
Read the full article about feeding the homeless by Joanna Prisco at Global Citizen.