Desperately searching for food in a downtown Houston dumpster, a homeless veteran was given a ticket by Houston police for “disturbing the contents of a garbage can.”
The ticket was issued by police on Thursday morning. The 44-year-old homeless veteran who was forced to dumpster dive for food is known only as K.J., according to the redacted ticket released by police.
Homeless advocates are now coming to the defense of the homeless vet. Critics argue that this instance displays how the city’s 2012 ordinance banning the feeding of the poor without proper registration actually victimizes the homeless.
Joe Ablaza, a critic of the policy, told Houston’s News 92 FM that the homeless man once relied on the kindness of strangers and that was taken away. Now, he is forced to rummage through garbage for food and the city wants to even take that option away from the homeless, he explained.
“What little dignity this man has continues to be assaulted by the uncompassionate leadership of this city,” Ablaza wrote in a Facebook post.
More from News 92 FM:
The voluntary homeless feeding ordinance was passed last April in a 11-6 vote by Houston City Council. The program moves for registration of formal and informal food service organizations, free food handling training by the city’s Department of Health and Human Services, and coordination of locations and times of feeding.
Registrants are also required to obtain the consent of public or private property owners before distributing food.
Councilman James Rodriguez, who represents District I, told the Houston Chronicle the policy was meant to “treat our homeless with dignity, to be more efficient and to protect public property.”
Ablaza and other opponents aren’t buying it, however, saying Mayor Annise Parker has forced the homeless into a difficult situation.
Jason Baldwin, a Republican activist in Houston, reportedly went looking for the homeless vet on Twitter to offer him a warm meal.
K.J. is expected in court on April 10 of this year.