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The Source: After Dismissing Cheever Citation, Pondering City's Approach To Homeless?

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Last week the City dismissed its citation against Joan Cheever for feeding the homeless. Cheever owns the Chow Train, a homeless feeding program that meets the homeless where they are, instead of at a centralized location.

San Antonio has long thought the best remedy for the homeless population was through a suite of services at Haven For Hope. Many argue the ordinances surrounding homeless people have been written with the express intent of driving them to services. Cheever's ticket was for feeding homeless people in a non-permitted vehicle, something she disputes. 

Now that Cheever has been let off the hook, what will the city do?

They are still figuring that out. According to city officials, they plan on hosting a "Homeless Feeding Summit" summit Tuesday, July 28th to discuss the future of the ordinances.

Here is an excerpt of their statement:

"There are no specific regulations against feeding the homeless.  As a result, we are in the process of reviewing existing policy and best practices to develop recommendations that support compassionate efforts to provide food to the homeless in a safe manner that does not compromise their health and  welfare...In the interim, the City does not plan to cite individuals and organizations who are feeding the homeless in a safe manner."  

How should the city address the homeless through a harm-reduction strategy as with Cheever or through a once size fits all model?  Is there room in between?

Guests:

  • Joan Cheever, owner of the Chow Train
  • Robert Marbut, former CEO of Haven for Hope
  • Robert Trevino, Council member for district one, where Cheever was cited.

City of San Antonio's statement Monday on homeless feeding programs:

The City has a long history of commitment to addressing homelessness in San Antonio. There are no specific regulations against feeding the homeless.  As a result, we are in the process of reviewing existing policy and best practices to develop recommendations that support compassionate efforts to provide food to the homeless in a safe manner that does not compromise their health and  welfare.   In order to gather input on how best to improve access and coordinate services, the City will hold a Homeless Feeding Summit on July 28, 2015.  The forum will encourage ongoing discussions regarding coordination of services between organizations, as well as City Departments. City staff look forward to having a thoughtful discussion next week and presenting policy options and recommendations to City Council in the Fall.  In the interim, the City does not plan to cite individuals and organizations who are feeding the homeless in a safe manner.  

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive