When Adele MacLean joined others in an Atlanta park to feed the hungry the Sunday before Thanksgiving, she left with a citation and a summons to appear in court.
The case was dropped when she showed up in court earlier this month, but she and her lawyers say the citation for serving food without a permit was improper and demonstrates callousness toward the homeless. The city and some advocates say feeding people on the streets can hinder long-term solutions and raises sanitation concerns.
“I’m still outraged this is happening,” MacLean said after her court appearance Dec. 14. “I’m concerned that the city, whenever they want to crack down on the homeless, they’re going to go after anyone that tries to help them.”
About 40 cities nationwide had active laws to restrict food sharing as of November 2014, and a few dozen more had attempted such restrictions, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Interim Director Megan Hustings said she doesn’t have updated numbers but that she’s heard about more cities considering such regulations.