The recently announced proposal by the Indianapolis City-County Council to regulate, discourage and attack spontaneous community support is a reckless threat to the lives and safety of the homeless population of our city.
This proposal is simply a blatant repackaging of the GOP effort by Councillor Hart in 2020 to pass Proposal 291, which would have banned rapid aid and support to the people who most desperately need it with severe penalties.
The only difference between the regressive, dangerous, and authoritarian proposal introduced then and the current version:
This time it is introduced by the Democratic leadership of the Council.
It is heinous that this Council would introduce punitive fines on citizens and groups filling the needs that this City fails to do. This will only reduce the support available to people in need.
The public reason stated for this proposal is a need to reduce littering and public safety. This is exactly the same gameplan as the GOP’s increased efforts to pass anti-abortion TRAP laws: pure pretext for law enforcement.
Let us be clear; under this proposal, more people will die. From heat, cold, overdose, and violence, this proposal’s passage would become a grave mark against our homeless population and others in need of support.
Instead, the City must allow and encourage individuals and groups to exercise the example set by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Decentralized spontaneous collective actions by individuals and groups to keep our city clean, fed, and healthy have proven far more effective and responsive than taking punitive enforcement actions against those who do this critical work.
The simple human act of neighbors helping neighbors cannot be subject to severe fines and law enforcement action.
To that end, we have a list of demands for the Council to take up at once:
1. Remove Proposal 256 from consideration immediately.
2. Allow community groups to work unimpeded from restrictions and disruptions from law enforcement.
3. Expand services and provide housing for the homeless population of Indianapolis.
4. Commit to a moratorium on the violent clearing of the camps of unhoused people.
We strongly encourage the Council to immediately reject this repackaged dangerous idea; do not actively threaten the lives and safety of our least fortunate and the people who work with them. The Council must serve this community, rather than punish it.
In solidarity with our community,
Indianapolis Food Not Bombs
Indy Hope Packages – Party for Socialism and Liberation
Because of Adam
Circle City Mutual Aid
Union for Community Defense
Jewish Voices for Peace
No Questions Asked Food Pantry
Flanner House Farms
Central Indiana Democratic Socialists of America
Community Food Box Project
Commonwealth Autonomous Collective