Robert Kovacik, Sean Browning, Brian Williams
The City Council is considering a prohibition on feeding homeless people in public spaces, and now advocates for the homeless are planning to take to the streets in protest. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec.10, 2013.
Hundreds of advocates plan to protest Saturday against a motion by the Los Angeles City Council to ban the feeding of the homeless in public places.
Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell introduced the proposal in November after complaints from Los Angeles residents that the homeless population overwhelms neighborhoods and sometimes scares residents.
"It is not a ban on feeding the homeless," O'Farrell told NBC4 Tuesday. "Let’s have a conversation on how to administer more healthfully and more humanely."
Monday Night Mission, a nonprofit group that feeds homeless people turned away from shelters on Skid Row, feels the ban would leave more homeless hungry on the streets.
"They are saying they want to find more humane solutions, when the first thing they do is try to cut off the food supply," said Monday Night Mission worker Mel Tillekeratne. "Don’t try to stop the people like us, the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, hundreds of other groups that bring over 100,000 meals a month, (or take us) out of the picture."
Los Angeles, with the second highest homeless population after New York, would join dozens of other cities that have already enacted or considered regulating public feeding of the homeless, including Philadelphia, Raleigh, N.C., and Orlando, Fla.
"(The city of Los Angeles) is requiring groups like ours and many others to feed indoors when they fully understand that we do not have the resources to do so," the group said on it’s Facebook page for the event. "It is time to remind them that there are still people who care ... To remind them that we have a right to be kind!"
More than 800 people have said via Facebook they plan to attend the protest, which is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.