LA Mulls Restricting Homeless Feeding Programs

LA Mulls Restricting Homeless Feeding Programs

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Winter is coming, the country is still digging out of a massive recession, and the poor- are poorer than ever.

In this economic climate, now two members of the LA city council are calling for the city to follow the lead of communities across the nation and ban the feeding of homeless people in public areas.

The proposal comes amid a growing outcry from residents who find their neighborhoods plagued with squatters, waiting for handouts.   One man who lives blocks away from a local distribution point says he now has people living in his bushes and his neighbor's crawlspace.

More than 30 cities across the country have enacted similar laws to restrict the feeding of the homeless, according to the National Coalition of the Homeless.

The executive director says this has become a popular tactic, which he refers to as "misguided" to drive people out of downtown areas.  Calling the laws "callous and ineffective."

In the LA area, homeless encampments are found throughout the city and county area, causing embarrassment to local municipalities, even as the desperation and hunger grow.

Cuts in federal funding for the homeless and an "early release" program designed to cut prison overcrowding have only exacerbated the problem.

Councilman Tom LaBonge, one of the two members who introduced the resolution, believes the food lines should be moved indoors, saying the well-intentioned efforts have overwhelmed the neighborhoods affected.

There are now about 53,800 homeless people in Los Angeles County, according to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development last week, a 27 percent increase over last year. 

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