Friday, December 13, 2013

Ban the Buzz, Not Pop-Up Food Distribution Events - Mitch O'Farrell

From Councilman Mitch O'Farrell's web page

Posted by Mitch O'Farrell 

I want to take a moment to provide you with accurate information about food distribution programs for the homeless and the recent motion introduced in council to address these events in the City of Los Angeles.
This subject came to light when my council colleague Tom LaBonge introduced a motion that calls for various agencies and City departments to look into policy that "would address non-commercial meal distribution in the public rights-of-way."
I supported the right for the motion to go through the public process, and that is why my name appears as the second signature. The motion has the support of the Hollywood Media District BIDand Assemblymember Richard Bloom.
This next part is critical to the story: the council is not looking to ban pop-up food distribution programs for the homeless. And there was never talk of a ban, at least not from my perspective.
Folks, I am afraid that the buzz and misinformation going around our social networks is making us lose sight of what is most important.
We need to come up with a common sense solution that will make it easier for pop-up food distribution programs to operate indoors instead of out.
We need to provide the appropriate restroom facilities and support services needed to give the homeless the dignity and respect they deserve.
We must help the homeless while maintaining some order in the surrounding neighborhoods.
And we need to bring advocates, service providers, and stakeholders to the table to identify funding to make these pop-up food distribution events work for the entire community.
Concurrently, I need your help laying the groundwork to find permanent supportive housing not only for homeless and low income earners, but also for seniors, veterans, and young professionals who are being priced out of living in the City. I recently introduced this motion to start that process.
I will be sure to let you know about the food distribution policy as it moves through the public process. In the meantime, please feel free to contact my office with further questions.   After you read the facts here, along with the motion and its support,  I think you’ll agree there must be a better way to treat the homeless in our communities. We are all in this together.

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