Proposal to regulate sharing food with Kansas City’s homeless is rejected

06/12/2014 6:51 PM

06/12/2014 9:41 PM

A “food sharing” permit plan aimed at groups that feed Kansas City’s homeless population failed Thursday in a tie vote by the Kansas City Council.

The outcome frustrated Councilman Scott Wagner, who had worked on the measure for more than a year.

But opponents had been lobbying the council to delay or kill the measure.

They said the measure was aimed at discouraging charitable groups from feeding the homeless.

The proposal arose from complaints from neighbors in the old Northeast area, who said food distribution enables homeless people to live in camps near their homes.

But Wagner denied the rules were aimed at blocking food handouts.

Instead, he said the intent of the ordinance was to ensure food safety and address litter problems at food distribution sites.

Under the ordinance, organizations such as the Salvation Army would have applied for free permits and be required to prepare food in an inspected kitchen, among other conditions.

Also, groups that share food would have had to provide sufficient trash receptacles.

Wagner said any group serving food to the homeless already is covered by the city’s food code requirements.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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