Orlando Homeless Laws Stir Heated Debate

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Dos Equis:
Tough issue.  My wife and I completely disagree on how to deal the homeless and beggars.  She will give them money and food.  Irritates the heck out of me.  Bleeding heart.  I absolutely refuse to give street beggars anything.  Most of the ones I see are professionals who have been doing it for years.  They wouldn't be on the same corners if they weren't making money IMO.

Orlando Homeless Laws Stir Heated Debate

By TODD LEWAN
AP National Writer
 
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- At Lake Eola park, there is much beauty to behold: robust palms, beds of cheery begonias, a cascading lake fountain, clusters of friendly egrets and swans, an amphitheater named in honor of Walt Disney.

Then there are the signs.

DO NOT LIE OR OTHERWISE BE IN A HORIZONTAL POSITION ON A PARK BENCH ... DO NOT SLEEP OR REMAIN IN ANY BUSHES, SHRUBS OR FOLIAGE ... per city code sec. 18A.09 (a) and (o).

Visit the park's restrooms, and you'll find this sign on the wall above the hand dryers:

BATHING AND/OR SHAVING IN RESTROOM IS PROHIBITED ... per city code 18A.09 (p) ... LAUNDERING CLOTHES IN LAKE EOLA PARK IS NOT PERMITTED.

Since joggers and dog walkers tend not to snooze in flower beds, and because employees at the glittering office towers around Lake Eola don't scrub laundry in park sinks, it's clear, says Monique Vargas, at whom the notices are targeted.

"They're talking to us, to the homeless," says Vargas, 28, who says she has lived on the streets, in parks or under overpasses, since age 16. "It's a way of saying, 'Your kind isn't wanted in our city.'"

Orlando, population 200,000, works hard to conjure the image of a true-life Pleasantville: a safe, welcoming place where visitors can soak up year-round sunshine and devour choreographed experiences at palm-ringed theme parks. But its spotless sidewalks, sparkling lakes and twinkling skyline belie a real city with real maladies - most notably, a surging homeless population that authorities are struggling to control.

After a law that banned panhandling was struck down by the courts, the city tried to discourage aggressive beggars by obliging them to carry ID cards, and later by confining them to 3-by-15-foot "panhandling zones" painted in blue on sidewalks downtown.

Despite these laws, the number of people living on the streets of the Orlando metro area swelled, from roughly 5,000 in 1999 to an estimated 8,500 today, dwarfing the city's shelter capacity for 2,000 people.

So in July, the city commission tried a "supply-side" approach: It passed an ordinance regulating the feeding of large groups of people in Orlando's downtown parks.

Those who wished to feed more than 25 hungry individuals at parks within a 2-mile radius of City Hall could do so, but only if they obtained a "Large Group Feeding Permit" from the parks department - and no one would be granted more than two feeding permits a year.

No exceptions.

For the first time anyone in Orlando could remember, not only would panhandlers find themselves in the crosshairs of the law, but so would those trying to help them. . . . .

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/D/DO_NOT_FEED_THE_HOMELESS?SITE=HIHAD&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
 

240 is Back:
beggars really piss me off.

Diesel1:
Quote from: Beach Bum on February 03, 2007, 11:49:48 AM

Tough issue.  My wife and I completely disagree on how to deal the homeless and beggars.  She will give them money and food.  Irritates the heck out of me.  Bleeding heart.  I absolutely refuse to give street beggars anything.  Most of the ones I see are professionals who have been doing it for years.  They wouldn't be on the same corners if they weren't making money IMO.



yeah the homeless really piss me off too! especially those that are mentaly ill. How dare they not have anywhere to live and have the gall to ask for some small change.  ::)

240 is Back:
There are places they can go which feed them 3 times a day and give them shelter at night.

When they drunkenly approach you and your family in supermarket parking lots to try to bumble thru their sob story as you put in the kids and groceries, that is bullshit.  You don't know them, they get in your personal space, they interrupt your life with unknowns, and that is not cool.  You don't know if it's some nice guy down on his luck, or some crazy fool with a blade on his last leg, and you are the guy he's gonna shiv to get a warm meal before they bring him in.

Diesel - question - would you be okay if there were 20 homeless people in the parking lot of every store you entered, every day?

Dos Equis:
Quote from: Diesel1 on February 03, 2007, 12:18:58 PM

yeah the homeless really piss me off too! especially those that are mentaly ill. How dare they not have anywhere to live and have the gall to ask for some small change.  ::)


I distinguished homeless from beggars.  The beggars I have seen on the same street corners for years are not mentally ill.  They are businessmen.  They are making money. 

There is one mentally ill homeless man near my town.  He never begs.  In fact, he has refused my wife's offer of money and food.  Based on what I've seen, the mentally ill aren't the ones working people for money. 

The other day I was in a fast food place, standing in line reading a book.  A "homeless" man thought the book was a Bible (it wasn't).  He asked me if I was a Christian.  I said "yes."  He then told me he was hungry and asked if I could buy him some food.  I said "no."  He then stayed in line behind me and ordered food and paid for it!   >:(

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