Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Food Not Bombs 'evicted' from 'public' property

posted by Free Press Houston @ 8:24 PM

posted by Omar
Food not Bombs has a simple yet brilliant idea: serve free, vegetarian food to the hungry and homeless. They do so on public property and clearly violate no laws. Then why do they keep getting harassed by HPD and forced to change locations? Beats me , but Nick from FNB had this to say:

Houston Food Not Bombs has been harassed by cops before and has been hassled by the library before. Last night, for the first time in a year and half, the Downtown Public Library (contact them at ContactHPL@cityofhouston.net) decided to ask us to go elsewhere, this time by sending out the HPD.

Supervisor Pribilski was not stating that any law was being broken, but spoke on behalf of the "Public" Library, that they would like us to go away.

This type of NIMBY oppression of the rights of the homeless has been a constant theme for FNB, causing us to move several times over the years, until reaching our current location at the Downtown "Public" Library.

The HPD officers took down the ID information of volunteers to fill out a report. When I denied my ID, Pribilski threatened to tow my car if I did not. They asked us to find another place to go, not realizing, of course, that wherever we go, they would be sent out eventually to ask us to go elsewhere.

Several people that were there to eat were very supportive, thanking us for risking such confrontations to feed them. One said he hadn't eaten in three days."

Well, I urge you to write the Library folks and let them know your displeasure if you wish. I will.


At January 13, 2009 at 10:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the most asinine stories that I have read in a while.
By encouraging the homeless to congregate on public property you are not only creating a public disturbance, but also a potential safety hazard. There are countless shelters, soup kitchens, and outreach programs that need volunteers, so my advice is to stop being a nuisance and trying to incite confrontations with public officials.

At January 14, 2009 at 8:15 AM , Anonymous James said...

That was one of the most asinine comments I have read in a while.

If you had did your homework you would know: There are enough soup kitchens to feed only half of Houston's homeless population (which exceeds 10,000). Additionally, there are only a fraction of beds for the amount of homeless. What kind of 'potential safety hazard' are you talking about? Is it more dire than starvation? Oh and how dare they create a 'public disturbance' and bother your pretty,little existence of 1.2 seconds.

At January 14, 2009 at 6:54 PM , Anonymous s410sl said...

How about a plan that gets more homeless fed and gives less photo-ops to privatizing assholes, HPD, and anti-authoritarians alike?

The fact is you can't really feed enough people in the time it takes a poorly cobbled plan by the FNB to be thwarted by front desk staff.

How about if FNB went more deeply into the homeless community that comes for their food and also wants to get help in this city? Maybe find people cogent enough to accompany them somewhere. Maybe they already have? Then, they could utilize the personal ties they have with these people they aim to serve.

Perhaps, later it could be arranged to meet somewhere in the city where plenty of homeless people actually hover. Any group of people who wanted to wear simple declarations of our city's inadequate social services, advertise FNB, or hand out sandwiches to homeless people could find a place to stand. The steps of City Hall would be a nice, accessible, place for media to capture any gathering that occurred there.

Finally, maybe when the HPD breaks up FNB handing out sandwiches at City Hall and is filmed being turning away REAL/LIVE homeless people, the reps at the City's steps could tell us where a "good place" for the homeless to eat and get help is.

Bill White has been getting awfully audacious lately.

It would be a shame to let him ascend the national stage without ever having to explain his role in the homeless situation that our nation's 4th largest city sweeps under its' dirty, oily, rugs.

At January 15, 2009 at 12:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so ashamed of the Houston Public Library and HPD for this. It's a disgrace when the needs of individuals are sacrificed for the convenience of a few. It's always the people who know nothing about the homeless situation that say things like:
"By encouraging the homeless to congregate on public property you are not only creating a public disturbance, but also a potential safety hazard"

Only pricks from the suburbs think like that. ANYONE can congregate on PUBLIC PROPERTY, homeless or not! Organizations like FNB know that they're not going to feed every last person but they do a noble job and are doing a job that YOU (me included) are not.


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