A Malibu church stopped offering free meals to the homeless after city officials pressured them, saying they were “increasing homelessness.”
The Malibu United Methodist Church and a Christian charity program called Standing Stone offered free meals to the needy twice a week for the past three years but stopped after city officials reportedly told them they were attracting too many homeless people to the city, according to The Independent. Malibu Mayor Skylar Peak denied ordering the church and other Christian groups to stop feeding the homeless, but also apologized at a public hearing for any “miscommunication” over the issue, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Very succinctly, they claimed we are increasing homelessness,” Dawn Randal, a member of the church, said of an email received from city officials.
Peak said at the public hearing that the groups were never ordered to stop feeding the homeless, but hd did not deny that city officials accused them of making the problem of homelessness worse.
“No they were never formally asked to stop feeding the homeless,” said Peak, according to the Independent. “Not at all.”
Peak added that his administration was willing to work with volunteers to develop a solution.
The problem began when the local Metro’s Expo Line reached Santa Monica in 2016, after which locals began complaining of an influx of the homeless and mentally ill. The complaints were corroborated, according to the Los Angelese Times, by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which recorded a rise in homeless nuisance calls, as well as a rise in random instances of crime.
“A homeless person was taking a shower in the girls locker room in middle school – that wasn’t real good,” local citizen Gary Peterson told the LA Times. “Providing dinner is a nice thing to do and a good thing, but it’s the location.”
“This is very sad for us; we’ve been enjoying these friends for more than three years,” Rev. Sandy Liddell, pastor of Malibu UMC, told the LA Times.
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