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- Today City Council passed into law a new ordinance regulating charitable food sharing. With this press release, Houston City Council Member Helena Brown, District A, makes the following statement: “What a sad day for Houston. We can feed the pigeons anywhere in Houston, but the homeless? Not unless we have advance written consent from either a private property owner or have been pre-approved to share food at one of only three public feeding areas in the City of Houston. “In effect, a sign has been posted in Houston: “PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE HOMELESS” “This ordinance will discourage an already discouraged people who give and it will further disadvantage an already disadvantaged people who are homeless. Crime will increase as the homeless become hungry and desperate and resort to criminal activity to survive. Dumpster diving will increase creating additional problems for property owners and an outbreak of food poisoning among the homeless. “Only three public spaces have been designated for food sharing. The theory is that the homeless are going to click their heels and take their marching orders and move on down to these areas and take what food is given them, no options. The property owners away from the parks will live happily ever after and those near these three areas will just have to make do. Violators will not be tolerated and the homeless who choose to remain elsewhere will suffer. “The limited number of “feeding spots” will not allow everyone who wishes to feed in a public space to do so, as we clearly have countless givers in Houston who all cannot be authorized to give at the same spot. It is mathematically impossible. “This new ordinance will have a negative impact on our homeless population, thirty percent of whom are military veterans. Ironically, this Saturday, April 7, 2012 we have a parade to say, “Welcome Home, Troops!” What a tragedy that we will have to say, “Welcome to a Houston that tramples upon the very freedom that you fought to protect.” “The passage of this ordinance will not be forgotten. “This is the start of a massive movement in Houston. The people of Houston gave their testimony. We heard from all religious faiths and non-faiths, from Christians to Atheists and everything in between. Tons of organizations and hundreds of churches stood and continue to stand against this new ordinance. We heard from parents, college students, teenagers, children, business owners, employees, homeowners, homeless persons (current and prior), Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Green party, Tea Party, non-profit Churches and charity organizations, from the ACLU, from Houston Lawyers, Veterans, and citizens from all walks of life. ““They’ll have to take their chances with the police,” Mayor Parker said Tuesday, April 3, 2012. “This ordinance will inhibit instead of promote charitable food sharing. It will promote fear: fear of persecution, prosecution, criminalization, fines, and possibly jail time. “The people of Houston will continue to stand together united and unequivocally opposed to any type of government control of charitable feeding. This ordinance inhibits the people’s ability to give spontaneously and violates their constitutional rights to be able to share food, regardless of race, creed, or living situation. The people of Houston will increase their organizing, put a charter amendment on the ballot to undo this ordinance, and bring in new responsive leadership to City Council.” Contact: Enrique Reyes, Director of Communications Council Member Helena Brown, District A email@example.com Ph: 832-393-3010 ###