‘Tis the season to be jolly unless you’re a homeless person living in Los Angeles, as two City Council members have proposed a ban on feeding homeless people in public spaces.
If enacted, the law would join a list of more than 30 other cities in the United States, including Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla.
The proposal comes after resident complaints argued that meal lines for the homeless should be moved indoors. Some of the other complaints include public defecation, loitering and petty crime.
But with the second highest homeless population in the country according to MSNBC, the measure is an ineffective solution to a much bigger problem.
According to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Los Angeles County homeless population increased 15 percent from 2011 to 2013. The proposal does nothing to address the issue of the 53,800 homeless people.
Many homeless people consider Los Angeles their home, they sleep there and they eat there. Many are extremely appreciative of the effort and work that is put into food banks.
It is a place for them to have a warm meal with a roof over their head.
Volunteers take great pride in serving the homeless and if this proposed ban is executed it will only make it harder for them to serve their community.
Rather than addressing it, residents want to send the homeless away from the streets, which is another way of saying that the city no longer cares about them.
City Council member Tom LaBonge, one of the two who proposed the resolution, said having food lines moved strictly indoors would be out of consideration for both neighborhood residents and the homeless.
But how is telling the homeless that they must turn elsewhere to scavenge for food putting them into consideration at all? It’s not.
The real problem with the proposal is that it dehumanizes the homeless and implies that feeding them will increase the homelessness rate, like birds that flock to people after being fed on the streets.
The measure is misleading and offensive to the homeless because it is not really a solution.
Passing laws against some of the resident complaints, such as aggressive panhandling or sleeping in restricted areas, makes sense, but to prevent people from feeding the homeless is morally wrong.
The proposal does nothing to tackle the issue of homelessness. Instead, it highlights our inability to do so.