Why Some Are Concerned About Shawnee's New Feeding The Homeless Ordinance

The ordinance will require people to fill out an application on the city's website before feeding 4 or more homeless people in Shawnee's downtown area. 

Tuesday, November 14th 2023, 5:09 pm



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A new city ordinance in Shawnee will require groups to apply before feeding the homeless in the downtown area. Some advocates are worried this will hinder outreach efforts. 

"There's homeless tents and camps everywhere," said Judy Clagg, a Shawnee resident. 

She says some people in Shawnee feel it’s an eyesore, but she views it differently.

“I've gotten to know some of the homeless people over the years," she explained. "They see me they wave at me." 

Judy makes sure her neighbors are taken care of. 

"Yeah, I bring them food or clothes," Clagg said. "Not everyone who is homeless is a drug addict. They honestly have had life beat them up." 

She calls it doing the right thing. 

"I've been doing it for a little over 20 years," Clagg said. 

Other people also like to help out.

"Groups have regularly come to Shawnee to feed our homeless neighbors,” City Manager Andrea Weckmueller-Behringer said. 

She said some groups who come to bring meals to the homeless are considerate of Shawnee’s downtown. 

“Some groups, not so much,” she added. “They've left trash and food items downtown that then our public and private property owners have to pick up." 

That's the reason a new city ordinance is going into effect Thursday. 

"It was a significant issue," Weckmueller-Behringer said. 

The ordinance will require people to fill out an application on the city's website before feeding 4 or more homeless people in Shawnee's downtown area. 

"There is no fee, no insurance requirement, none of these things,” Weckmueller-Behringer said. “Just a name so we can follow up if something goes wrong with the meal operation." 

But the ordinance has advocates like Clagg worried. 

"Well, it is going to hinder people from bringing them food down there," she said. 

She says most homeless people live downtown and leaving there can be tough for them. 

"Yes, especially the handicapped. They can only go so far," Clagg said. "I don't know what the answer is, but I know we need one." 

Because Clagg wants to see her neighbors taken care of. 

"Don't be afraid to help if you see someone in need," she said. "Don't break the laws, don't get in trouble, but don't be afraid to help." 

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