Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beer and Law Suits for the Homeless

Two pieces below both featuring Human rights.

I have opinions but I think reality overwhelms anything I might write.

Homeless Depot: A Moral Alternative
By Red Square
6/20/2006, 12:28 pm

Home Depot, the nation's largest home-improvement chain, was accused in a Federal lawsuit today of discriminating against the homeless. "The very existence of Home Depot is offensive to the sensitivities of people without homes," says Nadine Strossen, head of the ACLU who filed the case, adding that the word "home" itself smacks of racism, bigotry, and intolerance and thus should be treated as hate speech. The suit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of seven homeless people, some of them of color, squatting in an abandoned building next to the Home Depot parking lot in the Coney Island area of New York.

"We hope to win a ruling that would make it a class-action suit on behalf of all homeless who ever laid their eyes on the insensitive Home Depot sign and felt offended and/or excluded as a result."



'Beer for homeless' blasted

By Ben Davey
July 2 2003

A US "charity" that raises money to buy alcohol for homeless people was today attacked by the Salvation Army for adding "fuel to the fire".

Gerard Byrne, social program secretary of recovery services with the Salvation Army in Sydney, said the idea was a dangerous stunt.

Promoting themselves as a legitimate charity, Beer for the Homeless is the brainchild of talk radio personalities from WGOW-FM Chattanooga, Tennessee, who believe it will reduce begging by treating the homeless more equitably.

On their website, the group writes: "Merely because one has no home does not mean that one is somehow a second-class citizen and is no longer allowed the simple pleasures that society allows to those lucky enough to put a roof over their head.

"Beer For The Homeless steps up and strikes a blow for equality and human rights. Through this website, we will raise money to purchase and distribute beer to those who want it. Good old fashioned 100% American beer."

In response to criticism that their unique philosophy is socially irresponsible, the liquor dispensers defended their brand of charity as being a beneficial, even dignified cause.

"We feel that by our actions we are actually helping the homeless. No longer will they have to panhandle and annoy citizens in public asking for money, nor will they take government aid money to use on beer.

But Mr Byrne said: "If something like that was introduced here there would certainly be serious concerns from community groups and the government alike."

Byrne said that he initially thought the idea was a joke but was shocked when he saw pictures of the group distributing alcohol to homeless people.

"It looks like a cynical publicity stunt by the radio station with beer 'babes' employed to hand out the beer," he said.

"Since drugs and alcohol are a prominent factor in homelessness, providing them with alcohol is morally and ethically questionable."

"It just adds fuel to the fire."

The organisation asks for donations via credit card and claims that 70 per cent of all monies raised are used to buy beer, with the remaining 30 per cent spent on transport and website maintenance costs.


Both pieces above deal in satire, but only the first is made up. The second is real. The top piece is more believable. That tells me something, though I'm not sure what yet.


Jane said...


I will send a copy of 'Beer for the Homeless' to the latest project at the Carnegie Centre: HomelessNation.org. They will no doubt post it. And the Canada Council will no doubt seize on it as an idea whose time has come.

Homeless Nation is a project funded by the Canada Council which allows poor people across Canada to share stories about the culture of poverty and homelessness in which they live -- and to organize against it (and against Steven Harper of course).

When my neighbour told me he was featured on Homeless Nation, I responded, "But you're not homeless." He has been living in a housing co-operative for a decade.

He asked me if I wanted to be in a video for Homelessnation.org. You can "just dance around" in the back alley beside a garbage dumpster, he explained. I'm not homeless.
But why let a beautiful Canada Council grant be killed by an ugly fact?

dag said...

Jane, you are so lucky! All my life I wanted to be an extra. So far all I've managed is being superfluous.