As the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County continues to rise, the City Council is weighing a ban on feeding homeless people in public areas.
City Council members Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell, both Democrats, introduced the resolution after complaints from Los Angeles residents. Arguing that meal lines should be moved indoors, the legislators said the proposal would benefit both the homeless and residential neighborhoods.
Actor Alexander Polinsky is one Los Angeles resident who complained about the number of homeless people crowding his neighborhood.
“If you give out free food on the street with no other services to deal with the collateral damage, you get hundreds of people beginning to squat,” Polinsky told The New York Times. “They are living in my bushes and they are living in my next door neighbor’s crawl spaces. We have a neighborhood which now seems like a mental ward.”
“This has overwhelmed what is a residential neighborhood,” Council member LaBonge said. ”When dinner is served, everybody comes and it’s kind of a free-for-all.”
But advocates for the homeless say public officials are attempting to legislate the poor into invisibility instead of helping those in need.