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Advocates Will Protest Ban On Feeding Homeless In Public

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Advocates for feeding the homeless are planning on Saturday to protest a city council motion that would ban the practice in public spaces.

The organizers behind Monday Night Mission, a group that focuses on feeding and taking care of L.A.'s homeless population, claim that the proposed ban would not only work against the homeless, but it would force programs such as theirs to work indoors, something the group says they do not have the resources to do. The organizers also claim that immobilizing groups like Monday Night Mission is the first step to cracking down on the homeless in a larger capacity, as areas such as Downtown L.A. experience a rapid residential change.

"This we feel is ultimately a way to clear out the residents of Skid Row and other homeless people in affluent neighborhoods to make way for gentrification," Organizer Mel Tillekeratne told LAist. "Shedding light on this will also be a prime goal of our protest."

Councilman Tom LaBonge drafted the motion as a response to homeowners angrily pushing against the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition in a battle over where the homeless could be fed. Residents have complained that these homeless gatherings have led to an increase in loitering and petty crime in the area. Councilman Mitch O'Farrell seconded the motion.

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LaBonge has strongly reacted to accusations by Monday Night Mission and other groups that his motion will curb homeless advocacy groups. In an e-mail sent to KCET, LaBonge says that his motion, "DOES NOT mention a 'ban' on public food distribution programs, nor is that something I would support as City Council member."

LaBonge also told KCET that he is in favor of creating a permanent program that would work toward housing and feeding the homeless, but the details are unclear.

The planned protest will be at Hollywood and Vine and will start at 4 p.m. Tillekeratne says that the event is expected to draw about 500 people, but the event's Facebook page suggests many more might show up.

Related:
L.A. Could Be Next To Ban Feeding The Homeless In Public Spaces