Miami Considers Ban on Feeding the Homeless Without Training
Miami residents may have to think twice before giving up their leftovers to the homeless.
The Miami City Commission is set to consider a proposal next month that would prohibit unauthorized people and groups from feeding the homeless downtown, an ordinance proponents say will cut down on litter and ensure the safety of the food the homeless do eat.
The Miami Downtown Development Authority recently approved the measure, sending it up to the commission.
Though the change could draw objections, David Karsh, spokesman for Development Authority Chairman Marc Sarnoff, said the rule isn't a blanket ban. He said that anybody would be able to feed the homeless, but they would have to go through formal training first -- amateurs couldn't just give up part of their lunch to help someone they meet on the street.
"The ordinance is not by any means meant to discourage people from feeding homeless people," he told FoxNews.com, adding that homeless advocacy groups support the measure. "Anybody can do it."
The training would cover two main lessons: how to ensure the food is safe to eat, and how to clean up the mess afterward.
"The business owners and residents in the area are complaining that there's just an incredible mess in the area once the group leaves," Karsh said. "It really is an immense mess that's left behind."
If the ordinance passes, anybody who breaks it would first receive a warning and then fines up to $300 for subsequent offenses.
Feb. 26, 2010