Proposed ordinance looks to limit organizations from feeding large groups at parks

Proposed Ark. ordinance looks to limit organizations from feeding large groups at parks

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- City board members will vote this week on whether or not to limit the number of times a person or organization can feed large groups of homeless people in city parks.

The ordinance introduced by City Manager Bruce Moore has a lot of organizations who help the homeless scratching their heads. If approved, organizers said it will only make things worse for the growing homeless population.

City Board member Ken Richardson is concerned about the ordinance and it limiting the number of times organizations can feed the homeless at city parks.

"You got those people who need this support and these services and for us to do this to put a policy like this in place is very very disturbing,” Richardson said.

The rules would require a $500 refundable security deposit, a $25-dollar application fee and 30-days’ notice for anyone feeding more than 25 people.

“In addition to looking at implementing something like this where you are criminalizing helping poor folks, feeding poor folks you also have most of the homeless that are centrally located in the central part of our city,” Richardson said.

The ordinance would limit these efforts to just two a year. The city said there are already programs in places like Jericho Way, a resource center offering food and other services for the homeless.

"A lot of people and organization, they get great pleasure out of helping the lease of things,” Richardson said. “They get great pleasure out of the lease of things, and I don't understand why as a city we are trying to implement this kind of policy, it makes no sense at all."

The language of the ordinance talks about maximizing space and designating places in the parks for events like this, but Richardson said it doesn't make sense to put limits on giving.

"It hadn't been made clear to me why we're doing this,” Richardson said. “And I don't think the city, hopefully, the city I represent the city that I grew up in does not have this kind of ill will towards the people who need these services."

Moore's office wasn't available to talk Sunday. The ordinance excludes the River Market Pavilion and notes the Riverfront Sculpture is "not conducive to conducting large group feeding events." The board meets on Tuesday to hash out the details.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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