Thursday, September 11, 2008

The evils of helping poor people

Back here I related some of the troubles Food Not Bombs has run into as a result of committing the heinous crime of feeding people. Well it seems they're not the only ones:

An Abbotsford, B.C., church has upset parts of a neighbourhood by feeding the homeless.

About seven weeks ago, Peace Lutheran Church decided to reach out to the marginalized residents near Jubilee Park by offering them something to eat every Thursday morning.

But now Abbotsford Council is asking the church to stop, saying the food program is attracting more than just the homeless.

"We're told drug dealers are driving in there, making deals with people that are in there," said Abbotsford Mayor George Ferguson.

Lovely. Fortunately, the church is uncowed by this:

The church plans to keep serving the free breakfasts, despite the council's request to stop, said church Pastor Christoph Reiners.

"We don't feel that whether we feed people or not has anything to do with creating the problems of homelessness," he said.

"We feel the only difference (from ending the program) there would be is that people would go hungry."

Quite so. Kudos to Pastor Reiners for telling Mayor Ferguson to go to hell (even if only figuratively). I'd like to be all smug and say that this would never happen in my own city, but sadly that's not true:
Two portable toilets installed by a Winnipeg architect on land near his inner-city office to provide proper facilities for local homeless people have been removed.

Wins Bridgman and the Downtown Business Improvement Zone set up two portable toilets near Bridgman's newly renovated building on the corner of Higgins Avenue and Main Street in an attempt to provide a more dignified way for homeless people in the area to relieve themselves.

In the few weeks the toilets were in use, indigent people in the neighbourhood had been using them, and the smell of urine that had once been prominent in the area had disappeared, Bridgman told CBC News earlier this week.

But the portable toilets, which had been rented for three months, were removed Wednesday, after the city told Bridgman they couldn't stay.

In this case, it's not only bad but stupid, because people will start pissing on the sidewalk again- or better still, maybe this suggestion from the article's comments page will be acted upon:
I would like to create a simple leaflet with directions to the city hall washrooms and hand them out to all the homeless. Would anybody like to help me hand them out?
Interesting idea, to be sure, though I also like the idea of using Mayor Katz's yard.

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