MALIBU (CBSLA.com) — A Malibu church that has helped the homeless for years has been told to stop feeding people down on their luck.
CBS2’s Craig Herrera spoke to the people at the United Methodist Church about the request.
At various times, the church can serve as many as 70-100 people. They have been serving the meals on Wednesdays since 2014.
They were reportedly told to stop food service right after Thanksgiving.
“It’s a safe place,” says Michah Johnson who is homeless, “and everyone is welcome. And the food is really good. It’s home-cooked. And there’s TLC involved.”
Johnson said he still doesn’t have a place to live, but he just found a job.
“The church is very helpful,” he says. “They keep my spirits up. They keep me accountable. When you’re homeless, it’s very easy to slip off and become jaded.”
The church said the city sent it an email asking members to attend a meeting Monday. To their surprise, they said they were asked to stop feeding people.
“Very succinctly,” says Dawn Randall with United Methodist Church.
She added, “They claimed we are increasing homelessness.”
“I think many of them eat out of dumpsters and trash cans when they aren’t eating with us,” said Kay Gabbard of the United Methodist Church.
“We can’t pretend like (homelessness) doesn’t exist in our backyard. We can’t pretend that it only exists outside Malibu,” she added.
Herrera reached out to Malibu’s mayor and mayor pro tem for a comment and has not heard back.