Fort Lauderdale city commissioners will be voting tonight on the proposed ordinance that could cripple groups that distribute food to the city's homeless.
The crux of the ordinance deals with applying rules on food handling, providing toilet facilities and hand-washing areas, and requirements on how and when the food should be served, particularly for groups that service the homeless outdoors and in parks.
On the surface, the rules seem to have good intentions, with commissioners contending that passing the ordinance would protect the homeless from illnesses caused by ill-prepared foods. Homeless advocates, however, say that the ordinance will restrict them from doing what they can for the homeless. Having to provide toilet facilities and hand-washing areas is not only a hassle but expensive -- particularly for nonprofit groups.
But more to the point, the ordinance would represent yet another obstacle to helping Fort Lauderdale's homeless, who have become more and more marginalized over the past few months.
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