Group to Protest Possible Restrictions on Public Feeding of Homeless

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A protest was being organized for Saturday against a Los Angeles City Council motion that some activists say would ban charities from feeding the homeless in public.

filephoto food line homeless

File photo: (Credit: Jeffrey Beall/flickr via Creative Commons)

The event was being organized by a group called Monday Night Mission, who urged the public to join them in Hollywood at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“The City of Los Angeles is trying to ban the feeding of homeless people in public spaces. Requiring groups like ours and many others to feed indoors when they fully understand that we do not have the resources to do so,” Monday Night Mission posted on their Facebook page.

The group also said the city has “taken the side of the haves while they have forgotten the have nots.”

The motion, drafted in September by City Council Members Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell, followed complaints about lines of homeless people spilling into the street during the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition’s nightly operation to feed the homeless.

Residents say the coalition’s events have increased loitering and petty crime in their neighborhoods.

The motion called for city departments to find a solution to what LaBonge referred to in his motion as “public safety and health concerns.”

LaBonge requested that the City Attorney’s Office draft legislation relating to “non-commercial meal distribution in the public’s right of way,” as part of the motion.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, LaBonge said he wants to address public health and safety issues.

“This is not a ban on food distribution,” LaBonge said. “The City Council is asking the representatives and experts from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and others to advise the City Council on ways to best enhance opportunities to help those in greatest need.”

LaBonge said he was looking for a “permanent, more suitable location” for a public food distribution programs in his district, KCET reported.

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