Though homelessness continues to assert itself as one of the most prevalent issues of the modern U.S., the homeless living in Fort Lauderdale should no longer anticipate aid from their fellow citizens.
Thanks to a city ordinance, people are prohibited from publicly feeding the homeless, culminating in the arrest of two pastors and a 90-year-old advocate for the homeless who dedicated more than 20 years to nourishing the destitute and the indigent.
For a spreading issue defined by an extreme lack of monetary resources, the prohibition of such charity only escalates the already brutal and unforgiving nature of a homeless existence.
Regardless, according to the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, John Seiler, the new ordinance actually assists the homeless population. Seiler announced his perspective on the issue saying, “providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive.”
However, the cycle of homelessness is a complicated socio-economic phenomenon, and to imply that the public sharing of food by local humanitarian organizations or individuals only preserves the cycle of homelessness is a laughably misinformed attempt to make sense of the issue.
Another pitfall of the ordinance is that it impedes the interactions and relationships between the homeless and the average citizen.
At its core, homelessness is a social puzzle that will require more than government action. If such a puzzle is going to be solved, it is an absolute necessity that the general public assumes the role of active participants.
Unfortunately, homelessness is a poorly understood predicament by much of the public and surrounded by stereotypes. Such misconceptions partially arise from the alienation of the homeless by the settled.
For many people who are wealthy enough to afford a residence, the homeless practically inhabit a different sphere of existence. Interactions between these two classes are relatively uncommon, highlighting one of the fundamental aspects that enables the cycle of homelessness.
As previously noted, Fort Lauderdale’s new ordinance only encourages separation of the homeless and discourages civic engagement. To say that people feeding the homeless only keeps them stuck in their predicament shows a poor understanding of a complex issue.
Though Seiler may very well possess pure intentions, the ordinance that he backs will only aggravate the disease that he is attempting to cure.