Homelessness

Private Trust Offers Alternative to Miami's Scheme To Jail Homeless

Voluntary donations and programs

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MIAMI —What are your options if a homeless man decides to set up camp in front of your cupcake store in downtown Miami?

You could encourage him to leave through various "creative tactics". You could demand the police throw him in jail. Or, you could ask your customers to throw a few coins into a street meter that collects money to fund homeless programs.

It's a tough call. You've just invested a small fortune into your lifelong dream. You're a supporter of individual freedom and the free-market system. But the laissez faire attitude isn't going to stop the guy out front from relieving himself in your flower pots.

Joe's Stone Crabs in Miami Beach chose the last option.

The upscale restaurant took advantage of a campaign launched in 2010 by Miami-Dade's Homeless Trust and located 20 or so of the machines, which look like parking meters, in a parking lot beside its restaurant.