LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds gathered Saturday to speak out against what they called an attempt by the Los Angeles City Council to ban people from publicly feeding the homeless.
KCAL9’s Bobby Kaple attended the protest and spoke to homeless advocates.
“I believe that food is a right and everyone should be entitled to it regardless of their housing situation,” said Andy MacKenzie, a protester.
Laws against feeding the homeless publicly have been enacted in several cities, including New York. The idea a similar ban could take hold in Los Angeles has become quite a heated issue.
While many residents in Los Angeles want the homeless out of their neighborhoods, many charity groups want to retain the right to feed homeless people outside.
“They want to ban us from feeding the homeless in public. We care about the people around us,” said a protester named Jay.
“We need to make sure this ban doesn’t hit. We’ve seen it go on in New York, we’ve seen it go on across the country. What’s going to happen is the homeless are just going to die,” said Monique Imperial, one of the organizers of the protest.
The Monday Night Mission hands out more than 100 burritos a week to homeless people.
Kaple spoke with Kim Stewart, a Mission volunteer. She said she understood the concern of residents but that a ban is not the answer.
“The ban would only be an emergency stop gap measure,” she said.
LA Councilman Mitch O’Farrell denied the council was ever looking to ban feeding the homeless.
“The council is not looking to ban pop up food distribution programs for the homeless,” he said, “There was never talk of a ban.”
O’Farrell insists the measure (co-sponsored by O’Farrell and Tom LaBonge) was only designed to get groups and charities to distribute food more healthfully and more humanely.