A church in the upscale neighborhood of Malibu, California has been told by officials to stop serving food to the homeless because they were attracting too many homeless people.
The United Methodist Church has been offering free meals twice a week to the homeless but said it was going to stop after Thanksgiving because they were luring too many homeless people into the neighborhood. City officials made the decision after speaking with organizers, suggesting they were attracting more homeless people into the city, the Los Angeles Times reported.
At a public hearing last week, Mayor Skylar Peak denied ordering the meals to end, but he also apologized for “miscommunication.” Peak said the city wanted to work with volunteers on a solution.
“I will stand by the fact that everyone up here is compassionate about everyone in the community,” Peak said.
Religious groups fed the homeless for the past 17 years, and the City of Malibu and private donors used thousands of dollars for social workers to find them housing and services. The United Methodist Church and Standing on Stone, a Christian group, had been hosting homeless dinners twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays for the past three years.
Malibu has a population of 13,000 and has roughly 180 homeless residents, but no shelter or housing for them. The city is 90 percent white.
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