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Council concurs: Charities shouldn't face arrest for feeding homeless

Posted September 3, 2013

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— The Raleigh City Council agreed Tuesday with a committee recommendation that would ease permit rules for charities providing meals to the homeless in Moore Square.

The city got national attention when volunteers felt threatened with arrest Aug. 25. Representatives of Love Wins Ministries in Raleigh said they were told several times that that they would be arrested if they didn't stop passing out the food and leave the area.

A law requiring charities to have a permit to distribute meals has been on the books since 1998, but it has rarely been enforced. Tuesday's decision would continue that policy of non-enforcement while the city works on a long-term solution, which could include identification of other areas where meals might be offered.

Love Wins and other charities balked at what they called pressure to disperse and used social media to plead their case. The city reacted swiftly. Within days, the Law & Public Safety Committee had lifted the permit fee. Tuesday's vote cements that action.

"People here have a lot of passion, but they are also reasonable and they want to do the right thing," said Mary Baldwin, a member of the city council. "I think we're closer than most people realize to coming up with a solution."

The city will be looking to grow the number of groups helping the homeless while keeping litter and traffic problems in check, goals that Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown described as in line with the original ordinance.

A proposal will be formulated this fall, with recommendations to be presented by late November.

26 Comments

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  • athunder752 Sep 4, 2013

    80% of the homeless have health or mental issues and find it hard to live off of a disability check. Raleigh and Wake counties 10 year plan failed to address the housing problem and provide enough housing for those that needed it. The only real problem with the feedings going on is that Raleigh has gotten a reputation thru out the state as a good place to be homeless cause alot of groups do the right thing and help. On 1st of Sept. the Wake county mens shelter started banning homeless men for 90 days if they failed to get a job or proper medical help. So these services are really needed at this time. Thanks

  • athunder752 Sep 4, 2013

    Raleigh police should get tougher on the pill pushers and beggers that plague the area.

  • NC4LIFE Sep 4, 2013

    You have to atleast let the city know who you are,Suppose someone gave out bad meat and caused a homeless person to become sick. Or if God forbid someone wanted to poison the homeless, the city has a right to know who you are.

  • Scubagirl Sep 4, 2013

    the park is PUBLIC property so should be OK. Folks against this strike me as ones who don't want to see poverty, hunger, disadvantaged folks because then 'it doesn't exist'. I say kudos to those trying to feed them.

  • Scubagirl Sep 4, 2013

    "It still would be nice to know who decided to enforce a law that hadn't been enforced in years. Taffy"

    I would like to know that as well. Seems that tidbit of info is missing from all the reports

  • Taffy Sep 4, 2013

    It still would be nice to know who decided to enforce a law that hadn't been enforced in years. Just one more way North Carolina looks like we didn't care about the residents of this state.

  • cbuckyoung Sep 4, 2013

    Actually, the large majority of homeless do chose to be homeless because of their destructive choses such as illegal, excessive drug use. However, these are God's people. We must feed them, give them the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and help them to repent and move into the light. I go into prison all the time. We realize that these men and women have often done terribly wrong things. But, that doesn't free me from the command to go into all the world and whatever I have done unto the least of them, I have done unto God.

  • cbuckyoung Sep 4, 2013

    This should never have been an issue if the Raleigh chief of police had a brain. She should be fired for wasting the taxpayers time and money.

  • 68_dodge_polara Sep 4, 2013

    "I wonder how all these people would respond if these churches showed up with rakes, buckets, hoes etc and said "hey, we have work for you" with the promise of some pay and the free meal- would they still all show up to participate?"

    Do that and let us know. I bet you might get awful lot of yard work done. Things are a good bit different than they used to be with many more people than there are jobs today.

  • rachel Sep 4, 2013

    I have to agree with whatthehey-giving people just enough to barely get by, but not requiring them to pull themselves up by their boot straps, just maintains the cycle and doesn't make it an abhorrent situation to avoid-someone always steps up with a smile and a handout. I wonder how all these people would respond if these churches showed up with rakes, buckets, hoes etc and said "hey, we have work for you" with the promise of some pay and the free meal- would they still all show up to participate?

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