September 6, 2012
Skid Row Feedings of Homeless Should End, Argue L.A. Clergy
Clergy group seeks to end street feedings in Los Angeles.
In downtown Los Angeles, four major missions serve 8,000 free meals a day to homeless men and women. However, one group of clergy is urging those missions to stop their feeding ministries, suggesting the effort is "well-meaning but misguided".
The Downtown Clergy Council has issued a paper urging homeless service providers to stop street feedings, arguing the practice "takes away the incentive for people to go into the missions." This echoes a growing debate among homeless ministries amid a nationwide wave of feeding restrictions this summer.
"Please remember that we are not trying to tell you to stop doing your good works," the Council's paper states. "We are urging you to do it in a way that creates an environment conducive for change for the wonderful people of Skid Row whom we have the honor of serving."
L.A.'s Central City area, known as Skid Row, is home to four major missions that are equipped to serve 8,000 homeless people in the neighborhood's 50-block radius, according to the paper. However, many homeless men and women prefer to stay on the streets, rather than go inside and accept the missions' services. As a result, "it is impossible to go hungry in Skid Row."
"They're enabling people to stay in the streets," Kevin Haah, pastor of New City Church of LA and president of the council, told the Associated Press. "It actually backfires in many ways."