SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) — Homelessness has also been growing in Shawnee, but a new ordinance will add an extra step for those looking to help the homeless.
The City of Shawnee now requires any group that gives food to the homeless in the downtown area to have a permit.
Organizations that help feed the homeless erupted after hearing they will need to go to the city for a permit. Some say this is just going to hurt the people they are trying to help.
“I couldn’t believe that a city would come together and impose something like that to leave their homeless community on the streets hungry without any resources,” Jessica Laster, volunteer with Sandwiches With Love said.
The City of Shawnee now requires organizations to get a permit to set up and feed the homeless, due to an apparent trash issue left behind.
“I just don’t understand what this is suppose to accomplish,” Laster said. “Leaving people in the streets hungry is not going to make them disappear.”
The ordinance is below.
The city says it’s an easy process with no fees that makes it easier to work with those groups.
“So we have your contacted information so we can work with you because the sanitation issues that were left in the wake of feeding operations really caused problems for all of downtown, and it creates unsanitary issues,” Andrea Weckmueller-Behringer, City Manager of Shawnee, said. “It creates an unsanitary environment for the entire community.”
“So making sure that when feeding operations are done, they are done in a responsible manner, benefits the entire community,” Weckmueller-Behringer said. “It benefits the homeless, and it benefits our downtown property owners.”
The city ordinance will go into effect November 16. For any organizations that don’t get a permit through the City of Shawnee before setting up and handing out food will be fined $250 on their first offense, and $500 for every offense after.