Thursday, April 24, 2014

Word Travels on Homeless Hate Laws

After a hum-drum write up in the Sun Sentinel, it seemed like attention on the "Homeless Hate Laws" would go right were the City officials wanted it: back under a rug somewhere. However reputable journalists and social justice minded bloggers alike have kept this issue in the spotlight. The result is more scrutiny on Fort Lauderdale's chronic homeless crisis in the public discourse in years!

Over-the-top titles like "Fort Lauderdale may now lead the Country In Heartlessness Towards The Homeless" are amusing, and encouraging - but in all seriousness, this is really meaningful to those who have been in this fight. These laws are merely window-dressing for everyday enforcement behavior, and overall lack of services available, towards the homeless. The chronically homeless and  homeless advocates have a very lonely struggle and years seem to go by with very little help. These articles focusing on downtown Fort Lauderdale is hope to many! That someone out there cares! Have a look at some of them from:

Think Progress

Op Ed News

Americans Against the Tea Party


I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists


Before Its News

Homeless Patriot
Policy Mic



Some helpful person has also started a petition online, another useful tactic to spreading awareness on this issue - sign it here.

Next City Commission is MAY SIXTH. The final hearing for the public indecency revision and the private property ban, and possibly new ordinances will be heard that day as well. Keep spreading the word!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First 2 Ordinances Pass First Hearing

A revision on a public indecency ordinance and an ordinance that would restrict homeless people from leaving their belongings on public property easily passed their first hearing on Tuesday at the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. Testimony from the public went on for over two hours on these issues as representatives for wealthy business interests and homeless advocates made their arguments for who is really coming up with solutions for the homeless (and home free!) in Fort Lauderdale.

At times there was agreement from both sides of this issue that this first effort to work on homeless issues before the City in years is a pretty terrible start - a perspective shared also by City Commissioner Dean Trantalis. He along with many others also repeatedly asserted that these laws are directed specifically at homeless people, which the Mayor, City Attorney and others denied over and over again.

Much of the time the officials' evoked the phrase "Housing First" in their defense; a new program in Fort Lauderdale which amounts to 22 new beds for homeless people. It is the City's "living proof" that they care about the homeless. Representatives from the business class also came to soothe everyone with reassurances such as "banks want to help homeless people." The President of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce started the evening off by saying the ordinances were a "pro-business position."

About a dozen homeless advocates spoke either on one or both ordinances, and much good points were made that fell on mostly deaf ears as usual. Luckily those who made these arguments also know that this is only the beginning, and that we have a lot farther to go to ultimately protect the human rights that this City is trying to take from people base on their class.

While a second hearing is coming up in two weeks for these 2 ordinances, the hearings for a ban on panhandling, sleeping outdoors, and sharing food with homeless people is not yet scheduled.

Please watch and share this video. Of all the things said last night, Ray's 3 minutes at the podium just said it all. Please share!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Hearings for Laws April 15th

The City of Fort Lauderdale is introducing a series of ordinances over the next few months with the intent of severely increasing the difficulties and suffering of homeless people in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The first of these laws will be heard for the first time at the Fort Lauderdale City Commission next Tuesday, April 15, at 6 pm. There will be two proposals, one for banning any outdoor urination in a City notorious for a lack of public restrooms, and a tightening of restrictions of having private property in public spaces.

Both these laws are targeted at the homeless population of downtown Fort Lauderdale and are part of a ever downward spiral the City has plummeted into in its attempts to crush and drive away its poverty-stricken citizens. We are calling them for what they are..."Homeless Hate Laws." Check out the proposals below and join us at City Hall next Tuesday.