Proposed bill would require a permit before giving to homeless - KMOV.com

Proposed bill would require a permit before giving to homeless

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A bill proposed by 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar would make it illegal to give food, money or any other goods to the homeless on St. Louis City streets, parks or sidewalks without a license.  

If the bill is passed by the Board of Alderman, a vending license would be required between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and all activity would be banned between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.  

Reverend Larry Rice held a press conference Wednesday morning at New Life Evangelical Center to express his disappointment in the proposed measure. Rice is calling it the “Anti Good-Samaritan Bill."

“It’s wrong. It’s a fraud the way they’re going at this,” said Rice. “People are hurting and they should not penalize, nor criminalize, either the homeless or those who want to help the homeless.”

Reverend Rice says the city should be working with – and not against – the homeless to help them get back on their feet and into civilization.  Those most affected by the bill were similarly appalled by the news.

“I was shocked because I think it’s horrible. I think the homeless need more help than anybody. We need help,” said Beverly Yokely.

“I think that’s ridiculous because in the Bible it says feed the needy and the poor,” said Angel Rushing who opposes the proposed bill.

Police Chief Sam Dotson, speaking by phone, told News 4 the City of St. Louis is not opposed to helping the homeless. They want to see them improving their lives and having the necessities required to survive.  

Chief Dotson believes handing out free goods such as food and money just continues the cycle of homelessness. He also says it does not improve their life conditions.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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