The Government Hates Competition: City Regulates Charity Feeding Homeless Out Of Existence
Last year I highlighted a report from the National Coalition for the Homeless that detailed how charity efforts around the country were being shut down by heavy-handed regulation from local government. Now, via Regular Guy Rant, comes another example. This one in Houston:
Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.
That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their “Feed a Friend” effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.
“We don’t really know what they want, we just think that they don’t want us down there feeding people,” said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.
Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.
The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because “poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care.”
The homeless are even more vulnerable to starving, I’d think. And I’m not sure I buy the idea that these bureaucrats are concerned about food safety. I think the real motivation is that government social services workers don’t like competition.
Social services are big, big business for the government. There are entire armies of social workers, nationally, whose bread and butter are the disabled and the indigent. If private citizens, private groups of people, are out there giving of their own time, talent and wealth to help out the homeless I think the health care bureaucrats see that as competition. They see it as less “business” for them.
I think there is an entire class of politician/government bureaucrat that sees their goal being making more people dependent on government. Citizens helping out one another private gets in the way of that goal.Tags: big government, charity