Target: Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa
Goal: Repeal law requiring a costly permit and insurance to give food to people who are homeless.
Seven activists were arrested in Tampa recently; their crime: feeding homeless people without a permit. Despite the fact that Tampa has one of the highest rates of homelessness in America, city bylaws require nonprofits to apply for costly permits. The permit application process includes deposits and fees and requires organizations to acquire at least $1 million liability insurance. This effectively makes it very hard to operate a nonprofit aimed at feeding people who are homeless as the cost of the permit absorbs money intended for buying food.
Not only does this law punish people who are homeless or in need of food rather than working to try and solve the problem of homelessness in Tampa, it also requires law enforcement to waste time enforcing it. Sign our petition to demand that the Tampa municipal government repeal the law requiring a permit to feed people who are homeless.
Dear Mayor Buckhorn,
I was shocked to hear of the arrest of seven volunteers, all members of the Food Not Bombs organization. While I recognize that they violated municipal law by feeding Tampa residents who are homeless, these arrests are a waste of law enforcement resources and do not serve the public good. Furthermore, these arrests do nothing to address the issue of homelessness in Tampa and may, in fact, exacerbate the problem as it will cause vulnerable people go hungry which can decrease the prospects of them exiting homelessness.
The process of applying for a permit is costly as is acquiring the $1 million in liability insurance. This effectively diverts funds donated to and raised by nonprofits to feed people who are homeless to the government, reducing the effectiveness of these organizations. This law punishes the most vulnerable residents of your city and does little to address underlying issues contributing to homelessness. I urge you to repeal the law and allow nonprofits and charitable organizations like Food Not Bombs to provide warm meals to people who are homeless.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Matthew Woitunski