: In Hartford, CT a while ago the city placed a moratorium on installing more soup kitchens
The 'libertarian' answer, or more closely my own, would be to say a big "aha" there because I would question the "city planned" as being a dubious state of affairs. How does the city plan? Who actually does the planning? Whether its elected representatives or the local church group its not something that would be happening in a free society. No planner can overide the free action of others just like you personally would not have the right to overide your neighbours choices. The only occasion you would is in defecne of that liberty - ie against a mugger. This situation is not like that.
: Who should a libertarian support? The churches and citizens who want the freedom to follow tehir moral conscience and help the homeless? Or the citizens who've moved to Hartford for economic opportunity andx who want businesses to move in and create jobs?
Both and neither. If some people choose to put their own resources into helping the homeless then they are, or rather should be, free to do so. If some other people choose to put their own resources into making the city attractive to businesses then they are, or should be, free to do so. There would be nothing wong with the purchase of a hall and turning it into a homeless centre, there would be *eqaully* nothing wrong in the purchase of a hall to turn it into rentable offices. Neither freedom is 'more' important.
: how is a decision to be made?
Thats the difference. There would be no central committee deciding. Poeple would decide themselves by doing the things they value. Why not do both. Give the homeless a place to stay, an adress, and then a business might set up, offer work and enable those people to start over and become independant of charity - that would be real help.