Malibu church 'pressured to end meals for the homeless' because it 'lures the needy'

'Very succinctly, they claimed we are increasing homelessness'

Andrew Buncombe
New York
@AndrewBuncombe
Saturday 25 November 2017 17:10
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Church in Malibu pressured to end meals for the homeless: 'Very succinctly, they claimed we are increasing homelessness'

A church in upmarket Malibu has decided to stop providing free meals for those in need after claiming they were told by officials they were attracting too many homeless people.

The United Methodist Church, one of many churches that provides food and help, has been offering free meals twice a week. But it said it was going to stop after being told the meal service was luring too many homeless people.

Dawn Randall, a member of the church, said it recently received an email from city officials. “Very succinctly, they claimed we are increasing homelessness,” she told CBS.

Reports suggest that the California city of Malibu, famed for its gorgeous beaches and multi-million dollar homes, has a growing problem with homelessness, an issue that was met with both charity and taxpayer money.

The Los Angeles Times said the city, which has a population of 13,000, has roughly 180 homeless residents, but no shelter or housing for poor people.

Cooking your way out of homelessness

The United Methodist Church and Standing on Stone, a Christian group, had been hosting twice-weekly homeless dinners on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

But the newspaper said once the metro line to Santa Monica opened last year, a number of residents complained that mentally-ill and other homeless people were camping at the beach and entering schools.

“A homeless person was taking a shower in the girls locker room in middle school - that wasn’t real good,” Gary Peterson, a retired developer, told the newspaper. “Providing dinner is a nice thing to do and a good thing, but it’s the location.”

At a public hearing this week, Malibu Mayor Skylar Peak denied making the order and apologised for any miscommunication.

“No they were never formally asked to stop feeding the homeless,” said Mr Peak. “Not at all.”

Neither the church or Mr Peak immediately responded to inquiries.

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