On Thursday, 22 December, the Houston Police Department targeted a group of homeless advocates who were attempting to hand out hot food and gifts to the homeless. Local activists attempting to hand out food and gifts were shocked when Houston police forced the homeless to throw away the donations. Several individuals met in downtown Houston to distribute plates of hot food, blankets, and other supplies to the city’s growing homeless population. Soon after, Houston police arrived on the scene of two different intersections where the homeless advocates were giving out gifts and food.
In 2012, Houston's government passed an ordinance requiring applicants to fill out a form and seek permission to feed someone while on someone else’s private property, and another form to feed someone in a public park. The reasons for this ordinance - that food cooked in an uncertified kitchen may cause illness, and that it enables the homeless - are idiotic. It is just an effort to trample the most vulnerable members of our society, many of whom are good people who just made some bad decisions or suffered ill fortune.
We the undersigned call upon the City of Houston and its Police Department to end your harassment of the homeless. We call upon the city government to repeal the city ordinance prohibiting the sharing of food with more than five people at a time without fulfilling certain requirements. We call upon Houston police officers to cease their intimidation of the homeless and their advocates, and stop stealing food and other items given to homeless people. We call upon the entire city of Houston to demonstrate compassion for the homeless instead of heartless brutality.