Charlotte City Councilor suggests misdemeanor charge for people who donate to homeless population
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (WBTV) – Comments by a member of Charlotte City Council regarding helping the homeless community have sparked backlash.
At a council business meeting on Monday, District 6 council member Tariq Bokhari suggested considering making it a crime for individuals to donate directly to the homeless.
“People don’t get it and they’re still bringing food, money and resources directly to the people who are there right now. They only feel good, they hurt the ultimate people, maybe we explore making it a crime, ”Bokhari said.
The Charlotte Center City partners were giving a presentation Monday at the business meeting. Part of the presentation focused on the 2025 homelessness strategy.
Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari said a lot of work has been done to help the homeless, but adds that some people are doing more harm than good.
District 4 board member Renee Johnson disagreed with her idea of making people pay for donations. She says there are systemic factors that need to be taken into account, such as mental health.
“This is something I would never support, especially when there are so many systemic barriers for homeless people,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t want to leave this comment hanging – making it a crime to help homeless people, because sometimes everyone needs a little help.”
Kenya Joseph with Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition agreed that helping someone else in any form should not be a crime.
“It lacks humanity. In what world, when we as a society are in a place where we would criminalize the act of humanity, care, consideration and compassion for others in any way, there is a huge problem Joseph said.
The Mecklenburg County Public Health Director issued a reduction order in February to residents of Tent City after a growing rat infestation. County officials say this was in part due to an overwhelming amount of food donations.
Bokhari suggests that individuals work with organizations instead.
“I think we need a greater dose of hard love within this community, especially among those who continually give money, food and clothing directly to these people instead of giving them away. to organizations designed to help them, ”Bokhari said.
Joseph encourages people who want to help contact organizations and see what they need.
“There is room for everyone in a little more orderly and organized way so that we also don’t see the downsides of overconsumption, as we have potentially seen in what happened in February, ”Joseph said.
WBTV also spoke to Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham, who said she was troubled by the comments, especially as she actively helps the homeless community.
Bokhari told WBTV he was not interested in commenting on what he said at the meeting.
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