LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - As a show of support, advocates for the homeless population in Little Rock served up a meal outside city hall Tuesday night. The meal was offered in protest of a potential ordinance that looked to limit how groups could provide free meals to the homeless.
Last week, City Manager Bruce Moore introduced an ordinance that would require a $500 refundable security deposit, a $25 application fee, and a 30-day notice for anyone wishing to feed 25 or more people in a city park. Opponents of the ordinance quickly made their feelings known, voicing their concerns that the ordinance could further restrict a homeless person's means of surviving.
Volunteers with local organizations like The Van say it's nearly impossible to predict how many people will show up at their events and claimed these rules could hurt people more than it helps.
"For individuals just to come and gather in a park to have a birthday party, a family reunion, class reunion, this goes way beyond the homeless and the poverty stricken people in our city," said Caleb Alexender-McKenzie. "It affects everyone and it affects everyone who wants to use a public space."
In a Facebook post, the Arkansas Homeless Coalition shared an email from Chris Porter who works for the City of Little Rock. In the email, Porter said the ordinance was amended to lower the refundable deposit to $100 and increase the number of feeding permits per year from two to six.
The ordinance was table for another 8 weeks in order to create an independent committee to talk openly about the proposal.