LA joins NY and 50 other cities to ban feeding homeless

It’s so very important to punish the poor. If they didn’t have it coming, then they wouldn’t be poor, would they? If we can only think of new and more creative ways to humiliate and degrade them, as Christ commanded us to do, maybe they will finally decide to quit perversely choosing to be homeless.

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  • jroberts548

    Interestingly, it would be cheaper for LA (and everywhere else) to provide housing for the homeless, instead of using law enforcement to keep people from feeding them.

    • merkn

      What about the homeless that don’t want to live in the free state provided housing? What do we do with them?

      • jroberts548

        I don’t know. We still save a lot of money for every homeless person we give housing too.

  • kirthigdon

    A few Christmases ago, my oldest son and some of his friends decided to feed the LA homeless, so they set up a barbecue on a sidewalk downtown and grilled and passed out steaks and burgers to the homeless there. It was a kind deed by a bunch of guys who did not have a lot of resources themselves. I guess that’s more than the LA city fathers can stand.

    Kirt Higdon

    • Pete the Greek

      I would ask if your son and his friends policed up the trash and cleaned up when they were done. If they did that, and moved where they did it occasionally (if it was a regular thing) so they didn’t cause a permanent homeless population to congregate in front of private businesses and personal residences, then I’m betting they would have been cool with it.

      A lack of thinking about consequences, trash and creating permanent groups of squatters on private lawns and business grounds, seems to be the major factor in the complaints. The more I read on this, had more people actually thought of those things, this problem wouldn’t have gotten this far is seems.

      • Petit Bourgeoisie

        Helping the homeless is alright, but I shouldn’t have to be reminded of their existence. It makes good people like me very uncomfortable. I deserve better! I pay taxes, you know.

        • Pete the Greek

          I think your attempt at sarcasm misses the point of my response.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Doesn’t read like sarcasm. Are you sure you aren’t just sniping a comrade for unfortunate honesty?

    • IRVCath

      In the minds of a metropolitan councilman, the question they ask is, “Will this negatively affect property values?” Quite a few would gladly commit infanticide if it meant tax revenues would skyrocket in response.

  • CJ

    What’s distressing to me is: why are they unafraid of the consequences? Perhaps they don’t fear God, but if they thought there’d be hell to pay with voters they still wouldn’t put these measures in place. Could it be that the people are ok with it? If so, it’s another case of getting the government you deserve.

    • IRVCath

      Probably. The reasoning is that feeding the homeless will encourage them to stay in public places and depress property values (and thus, tax revenue), instead of “moving on.” Most voters, of course, own property, and at least in LA, house prices are king.

      • merkn

        Last week in Brooklyn a “homeless” mentally ill just released prison inmate stabbed two children on an elevator. One died. So some people have other reasons for objecting.

        • IRVCath

          And why was he released by the State if it was proven he was a lunatic, I wonder? On the other hand, most mentally ill homeless people are that kind of schizophrenic that , while certainly unsightly, are little more than harmless lunatics.

          • Iwishyouwell

            Ya — this really speaks to the huge issue of the lack of resources for the mentally ill and their families in this country more than it does the homeless situation. About a third of the general homeless population is mentally ill. Unfortunately, we kinda threw the baby out with the bathwater when we cleaned out the horrific state-run asylums, and it’s very, very hard to get adult mentally ill people to voluntarily surrender themselves for treatment, and to commit them involuntarily.

  • Pete the Greek

    I know that for even suggesting that there may be more to this story I am no better than the rest of the goats that will be condemned to eternal fire, but…

    Is it illegal to care for the homeless at all in these cities? Is it illegal to see to their needs?

    Is this some kind of order imposed upon a virtuous citizenry by evil Scrooge McDuck clones, who are probably corporation owners too, and probably publicans if the truth were know, or was it a citizen pushed initiative?

    I couldn’t read the Scott article above because it’s blocked by my work’s proxy server, but I did find this story on CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets. They interviewed quite a few people, some who live in the areas, some shop owners, and this type of comment below was not out of the ordinary:

    ““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.””

    Our local Catholic charity, two blocks from one of our apartment buildings, seems to be doing it right. They feed enormous number of people in their building, but also dispose of all trash. they are also very close to the local shelter, so the homeless simply walk there in the evening. They don’t get complaints from businesses or locals that I’ve heard.

    If Mark Shea’s front yard, or CJ’s, or Kirthigdon’s, or the rest of you kept finding your property filling with discarded trash, plates, cups, paper products, sleeping people, and urine and feces in your driveway, because if that area is a regular drop off point for free food, that’s where the homeless will congregate and probably just hang out, I’m sure you would be totally fine with all that, amiright?

    How many of you actually LIVE in these areas where such happens, as opposed to nice suburbs? I’m guessing few to none. It’s easy to get puffed up in righteous indignation when you don’t directly have to deal with it. As one commenter on the Huffington Post version of the story pointed out: “Yeah, I’m kind of split on this. It’s easy to criticize when you don’t have former mental patients screaming in your driveway at 2 AM.”

    • Iwishyouwell

      Um…well, I live in SoMa, in San Francisco, so I get what you’re saying, but I find the homeless way less annoying than the annoying suburban tourists who walk four and five across down a city sidewalk at their slow, plodding suburban pace…

      Just sayin’.

      Think of it this way — every one of those tragic people is an opportunity for you, as a Christian, to pray for them, or, at the very least, to say “there but for the grace of God go I…”.

      As much as it sucks for you to have to deal with the more problematic issues of a large homeless population, it sucks ten thousand times worse to be one of those homeless people.

      • Pete the Greek

        I don’t think you quite get my point.

        If I understand the articles and the people who were interviewed, the problem wasn’t that there were homeless people around, or even that people were giving them stuff.

        The problem seemed to be you had people setting up regular spots for distribution in certain parks and residential areas. Because the places were set and times regular, the homeless population moved to those locations and set up shop, even in people’s yards if they wanted, along with discarded trash and bodily waste.

        The garbage pickup seems to have been a major concern as well. When you hand out lots of free food… in cardboard, foam, etc., and don’t make the effort to police up the trash, that garbage winds up all over the streets, yards, businesses, etc.

        In short, it seems that a lack of planning on the charities’ part brought this to a head.

        To keep with your tourist analogy: Yes, lots of tourists wandering around is a little annoying sometimes. BUT, would you be just fine and dandy if said tourists decided to just camp out in your lawn, discard there trash there and, uhm, relieve themselves in your driveway?

        The issue was not “DON’T FEED THE HOMELESS! LET THEM EAT LEAVES AND ROCKS!!! ARE THERE NO PRISONS!?!? NO WORKHOUSES?!?!” Like so many have tried to make it sound. It was rather “Engage in chritable acts in such a way that doesn’t cause major problems for everybody else.”

        Good intentions do not remove our responsibility to also not be a problem for everyone else.

        • Iwishyouwell

          I get your point — occassionally we get a real doozy of a loud ranter right under our windows, but maybe because SF has pretty good services for the homeless, there are actually people we can call and they come and address the problem. We also have several city-run and private charity-run centers, shelters, dining halls, etc. that serve the homeless. I’ve never really seen a roaming food-truck type situation that hands out food, however. Most SFans individually buy their local regular homeless meals, but that tends not to be an issue for us.

          Honestly, we get worse trash issues from all the people going to the ballgames than we do from the homeless, who tend to be as conscientous about composting and recycling as the nuttier greenies around here. But that’s SF for ya. Also, we still have the deposit return for bottles and cans, so there’s money to be made bringing them to a recycling center.

          It’s all so sad — all those lost and thrown-away people. I just can’t find it in me, even when dealing with the craziest of crazies, to be mean about them. Sometimes I kind of think it’s a good thing to encounter them every day. I wish no one was homeless, but I’m glad I don’t live in a place where they’re not welcome, or they’re shoved to the places no one can see.

  • Rosemarie


    From what I gather, NYC has only “banned feeding the homeless” insofar as it recently outlawed food donations to homeless shelters because “the salt, fat and fiber content can’t be assessed by the city” (seriously!). Other than that, I don’t think there is any law against a citizen just giving food to someone on the street. I can’t find any evidence of such a law.

  • anna lisa

    There are a lot of homeless people in Santa Barbara. The majority appear to be drug/alcohol addicted and/or mentally disturbed. The city has had to remove entire decorative fountains because they were used as urinals and bathing stations. A bunch of our teak benches were just removed, and fences placed around the brick benches to keep them from sleeping and congregating on them. I am so used to the homeless that they don’t shock me, but a friend of mine from Prague couldn’t get over it. I try to make eye contact with them and smile, but I’m always a little bit afraid. They can become violent out of the blue, and start screaming at you.

    My favorite homeless guy hung out downtown with his dog, which balances a cat on its back, and a rat balancing on the cat’s back.

    The most annoying one plays the bagpipes, but is severely lacking in talent.

    My favorite homeless story is when my son tried to give a buck to a homeless guy, and he refused to touch it, referring him to his sidekick to collect it for him. He said, “I never touch money, because it’s filthy.”

    The next runner up is when my father tried to give a guy a cup of coffee on a cold day. He accepted it and then sniffed it, asking if it had cream or soy. My father said “cream” and the guy yelled at him for giving him a milk product.

    My father took one really old lady under his wing, and would bring her to thanksgiving dinner. She wore lipstick on her earlobes and told us about being in the movie Casablanca and sailing on the Titanic. She was skinny as a rail, and would beg for food. She told me I was irresponsible for having so many children. It turned out that she had a dingy little home that she owned, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in her mattress.

    I have to say that the most violent encounters my family has had (3 times)took place in Berkeley. *That place needs to be collectively exorcised. * A homeless man knocked my teenage daughter’s coffee out of her hands, and then threw a punch at her face, missing by a hair’s breath. She hadn’t even engaged him in any way. Some people who saw it happen asked a nearby police officer to arrest him, and the officer just shrugged and said that it happens all the time.

    We had to flee from one dude (decked in rosaries) because people talking on cell phones enraged him. I think that the only reason why he didn’t chase us further is that he was afraid to leave all of his worldly possessions (stacked in a grocery cart)…

  • jaybird1951

    Are we talking about actually feeding the homeless ourselves or donating money ostensibly for food? I do not give to street beggars, in part because I have no idea what the money will be spent on but also because a number of the beggars look fit enough to work, in my part of the world (southern Oregon) at any rate. Begging is their ‘job.’ I donate to Catholic charities instead. A friend of mine in Chicago used to be disturbed by the street beggars on the bridge across the river by the commuter train station. He bought those food vouchers accepted by stores and fast food places and was startled to see the reaction of the majority of the beggars who rejected them; they preferred cash for their alcohol or drugs. Some however, were very grateful.

  • I’ve got a piece on this coming out this week at Aleteia. Among other things, these bans are an assault on religious liberty.

  • Sharon

    I am surprised that someone who has fought for the United States would be homeless. Do they not receive a generous pension and help to find housing ? Every country owes a debt to those who fought to keep the country free.

    • The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that around ten percent – nearly 60,000 – of the homeless on any given night are veterans. I’m board president of a homeless shelter and soup kitchen and I can certify that a significant percentage of the men we serve are ex-military.

  • Faithr

    My son started a mobile soup kitchen in Boston. The homeless don’t come to him, he goes to them. He and his volunteers walk the city handing out sandwiches, fruit, warm socks, etc. I suggest the folks in LA work on something like that. That way they don’t have the problem of lots of folks congregating where it becomes problematic.

  • Iwishyouwell

    LA buys their homeless one way tickets to San Francisco. We’re used to it. Hawaii does as well, Nevada recently dumped homeless mentally ill on us (at least our Mayor sued them for the projected cost of caring for them).

    There are huge problems with the homeless here (crime, drugs, cost, etc.), but we do take care of our homeless (and yours!), and people are generally very caring and tolerant, even protective of their local homeless neighbors.