Permit Needed to Feed Homeless?

Nov 22, 2021 at 12:02 pm by Cynthialynn Jones

The Murfreesboro City Council last week discussed an ordinance that if approved, would require permits to be obtained by organizations that are serving food to the homeless and to people needing food assistance on city property.  Organizations on private or county property would not need a permit. The permits issued would be effective for one specific event.

Mayor Shane McFarland said the city council has received feedback about the homeless communities living in the city and while he wants to help those in need he must maintain a safe atmosphere for other residents.

One of the goals of the proposed ordinance is to ensure that the food has been prepared safely. The county and state health departments do not require permits or licensing to conduct these activities, according to Tucker.

In reply to Councilman Shawn Wright’s questions about kitchen sanitary inspections, Tucker said that state law determines this requirement based on how often the organization serves meals on a weekly basis.

“We have the training content available. Most likely what we’re going to build out is an online platform where these groups would go to take that training that would include a completion certificate with it,” said Geoffrey Parker, the executive director of H3ARC.

Tindall said the city is working with the police department to assemble a homeless task force that aims to get a handle on law enforcement issues derived from the homeless community.

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