Homeless "Meal Limit" Changed to "Time Limit"
After three and a half hours, the bulk of the crowd which filled Thursday's city commission meeting, got what they were waiting for.
Gainesville's controversial "meal limit" for feeding the homeless, has been replaced with a "time limit."
Commissioners approved a petition, 6-0, that eliminates the 130-meal cap and adds a three hour time frame every day-- when the homeless can be fed.
"Even though we may have won there may be another reform to push back on it," said Lauren Byers.
"There is a possibility of them privatizing the Bo Diddley Plaza, and eliminating basically community people to be able to feed the homeless," she said.
The only licensed facility in the city that falls under the new ordinance is the St. Francis house, which some feel, is poorly managed and attracts crime to the area.
"Wide spread, strong dissatisfaction with the behaviors of homeless and poor people exists among residents and business owners in our neighborhood," said one citizen during the public comment period.
However, others say the "time limit" is a long awaiting victory for the community.
"I don't think anybody needs to be afraid of walking around people who are waiting to get fed.... I don't think it destroys the city for us to realize that there are people among us who are being given help," said another citizen.
The commission directed the city attorney to prepare the amendments to the ordinance, which will be voted on in the second reading in two weeks.
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