By Takane Shoji
New York, Los Angeles, or Philadelphia — winters on the streets are cold; but this winter, it’s especially cold. Though the number of homeless people across the country has been on the decline, more than 600,000 people are still out on the streets. To put the figure in perspective, the population of Boston is a little over 630,000. The much-needed economic recovery is steadily coming along yet nowhere close to diverting resources for an expansive social welfare. On the contrary, major cities in the US have been taking away what is perhaps the only warmth homeless people have — food service on the streets.
Legislations banning the public provision of food services to the homeless have pervaded the country in the past five years and just this past December, another major one — Los Angeles — was to join. Why? States have given a myriad of answers, but here’s one, by the Bloomberg administration in NYC – a city with the largest number of people on the streets.
“In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.”