Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has taken some heat in the past few weeks for the treatment of its homeless community. Earlier this month, a 90-year-old man and two pastors were arrested, multiple times, for handing out hot meals to the hungry. Now, the city is dealing with their homeless population in another way — and it is just as offensive.
Ft. Lauderdale has invested $25,000 in Greyhound tickets, and plans to bus out homeless people who wish to leave town. The city hopes to reduce their homeless population, while providing a way for them to get back to their family and friends.
According to Broward News,
Individuals interested in obtaining bus passes must “meet the FLPD homeless outreach officers at the outreach assessment point,” [Deanna Greenlaw, public information officer for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department] says. “There are a series of questions that have to be answered, and officers have to conduct a follow-up with each application.”
First, applicants must sign the application “to verify all of their information is correct, and it states the city will not supply cash for traveling, that it is a one-time offer from the City of Fort Lauderdale, and that the city is not responsible for any mishaps, problems, or missed transfers along the way.”
Officers follow up on the application by “making contact with the individual they are traveling to, verify the address, check for warrants, and few other things for checks and balances. Additionally, they need to be available to be at the Greyhound Station at the time of their departure.”
Many homeless either do not have a support system, or anywhere else to go. Further, Ft. Lauderdale seems to pushing those they wish to no longer see onto another city.
This is not the first time Ft. Lauderdale has instituted such a program—with similar criticism.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler did not respond to a request for comment Friday, but in 2011, he told the Sun Sentinel, “We’re not pushing them out. If somebody has a network of support, a group of family and friends that will provide for them back home, that’s probably a good place for them to be.”
Despite their good intentions, there is no tracking of the homeless to make sure they are okay or that the program really works.
According to Greenlaw, “There is no ‘tracking’ of the individuals who participated in this program; however, the FLPD homeless outreach officers have received numerous letter, postcards, and emails from some of the participants, thanking them for their service.”
Ft. Lauderdale is doing everything in their power to cover up a serious problem. The city spent $25,000 of taxpayer funds to bus out the homeless, that money could feed, clothe, and provide shelter for many of those on the streets.
Instead, they are doing their best to starve and criminalize homelessness — perhaps the most cruel act of all.
Homelessness in Fort Lauderdale—a city’s tortured history
For a more in-depth look at the City of Ft. Lauderdale’s history of ill-dealings with the homeless, click here.