The city of Lancaster, California, plans to restrict public places used to feed homeless people after the city council discussed the situation during a meeting Tuesday with homeless advocates.
As Fox 11 points out, the meeting came after two city agencies, the Criminal Justice Commission and the Homeless Impact Commission, recommended the ordinance to the City Council for consideration and adoption.
The purpose of the meeting was to prevent charitable individuals or groups from distributing food on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots, or other public property.
During the meeting, Mayor Rex Parris was confronted with the opinion of homeless advocates after suggesting that failing to take action on places where volunteers provide them with food creates public nuisance and trash, according to Fox News.
“A lot of people would come to eat, the people feeding them would leave and the mess would be left behind,” Parris said. “We’re talking about people defecating in the entryways of the business. It became a public health problem.”
Homeless advocates pointed out that the measures could endanger the lives of the already vulnerable homeless population, arguing that the proposed fees and fines for volunteers would cause their help to decrease considerably.
Navy veteran Michael Ouimet, who has lived on the streets for 11 years, opposes the measure, saying it’s too hard to find food if you live on the streets.
” You never really know where you’re gonna get your next meal from,” Ouimet said, according to ABC7.
After the hearing was adjourned, city officials established a committee to work with nonprofit organizations with whom they hope to study the issue. As Fox News points out, so far it is unclear how long the “study” would last or how much it would cost.
California is a state known for implementing progressive policies such as sanctuary legislation or bills that expand “red flag” [gun control] laws.