If you are an altruistic individual who is planning on spending your new year’s celebration in Las Vegas, please be aware of some of their local laws. One of the most surprising ones would be that it is essentially illegal to feed the homeless. Simply put, if you help the homeless, you may be subject to a hefty fine.
Even though city officials seem to be doing their best impression of the grinch this holiday season, they do have a ready excuse. Officials claim that feeding the homeless will encourage varmints to run lose on the streets as well as foster continued problems with human waste. They worry that human waste could potentially get into the waterways, creating pathogens and causing a number of public health concerns. Not to mention the concern that those feeding the homeless will continue to block traffic and create a hazard that way. However, for all of these claims, perhaps this isn’t the real reason why Las Vegas lawmakers are cracking down on those who wanted to give the homeless a bit of holiday cheer.
Instead, it might be because Las Vegas has recently opened up a center for all homeless individuals to congregate, informally entitled “The Homeless Courtyard” that has been around since last July. Ideally, this courtyard is supposed to help Las Vegas homeless with an array of services to help them stay off the streets for good. However, hopefully this “homeless courtyard” also takes into account that there are times the homeless are disabled and are in need of such things as wheelchairs, walking canes and other needed medical supplies. Living on the streets is hard enough, but doing it with a medical problem can make it near impossible.
The other wrinkle is that these city officials that founded this courtyard see these charitable individuals that want to feed their homeless as obstructing their goal of helping them get back on their feet. Apparently the old tried-and-true “let the government take care of you” manta is being trotted out yet again. Although the city officials feel like those who have compassion towards the homeless are simply getting in the way of their plans, it would appear to me that a happy medium is in order. Couple this with mental health issues, and this isn’t an easy problem to fix at all.
One analogy that you could conceivably coin would be in the medical field. Indeed, the hallmark of helping anyone out – whether they are homeless, have a medical problem, or both – would be to have compassion towards them. That is one of the main reasons why many people go into the medical field and that is also one of the main reasons why a lot of people do charity work to help the homeless and others down on their luck.
Believe it or not, homeless people are a lot like senior citizens. They might realize their situation, but at the end of the day they still want their dignity left intact. Many know that going to this “homeless courtyard” is probably just going to have them looked down up by the volunteers and others. Many of them would rather just stay on the streets and rely on handouts. However, I am not saying the courtyard is a bad thing. But why not have both? Why not have do-gooders and other well-wishers feed them and also have the courtyard help them as well. Another analogy is this: it has been proven that senior citizens in a nursing facility function better if they get a true loving touch from family rather than from just an employee. It is the same difference for many homeless people, who would rather get compassion on the street than just an empty look in that courtyard.