Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

November 29, 2006

Fairfax County: Starve the homeless

Here's some evidence that criminal stupidity, long the province of Montgomery County, has crossed the Potomac into Northern Virginia.

You know how you used to do something that actually helped real people -- making tuna-noodle casseroles for the homeless? As we would say in New York, fuhgeddaboudit!

Fairfax County is now barring people from making dinners for the homeless, unless their kitchens are up to code, meaning "a commercial-grade refrigerator, a three-compartment sink to wash, rinse and sanitize dishes and a separate hand-washing sink, among other requirements."

One man involved with a religious charity group hit the nail on the head:

"We're very aware that a number of homeless people eat out of dumpsters, and mom's pot roast has got to be healthier than that," said Jim Brigl, chief executive of Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services. "But that doesn't meet the code."
The reaction of Fairfax County is typical for the folks who think that only the government should help people in need, and that private charity is bad because it can't be overseen by the government "experts." Thus:
"We're dealing with a medically fragile population . . . so they're more susceptible to food-borne illnesses than the general population," said Tom Crow, the county Health Department's director of environmental health. "We're trying to protect those people."
I'd offer a slight correction: They're "trying to protect those people" by imposing such steep regulatory costs on donors that virtually every donor will stop donating. Mission accomplished.