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California city ends ban on feeding homeless

A California city that came under fire because of its ban on feeding the homeless has lifted the temporary order, just a week after activists were issued citations for distributing food to several people in need.

The city of El Cajon, near San Diego, banned ‘food sharing’ in public spaces back in October in an effort to curtail the spread of Hepatitis A.

‘We’re happy that the hep A emergency is over,’ El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said on Tuesday.

A California city that came under fire because of its ban on feeding the homeless has lifted the temporary order, just days after activists (pictured) were issued citations for distributing food to several people in need

The city of El Cajon, near San Diego, banned 'food sharing' in public spaces back in October in an effort to curtail the spread of Hepatitis A, but on Tuesday that  ban was lifted. Activists are seen handing out food in Wells Park 

The city of El Cajon, near San Diego, banned ‘food sharing’ in public spaces back in October in an effort to curtail the spread of Hepatitis A, but on Tuesday that  ban was lifted. Activists are seen handing out food in Wells Park 

El Cajon's ban drew international attention last week when a dozen of activists (pictured) were issued citations for distributing food to the homeless at Wells Park

El Cajon’s ban drew international attention last week when a dozen of activists (pictured) were issued citations for distributing food to the homeless at Wells Park

‘As we always said, the ban was lifted the moment we were aware of that,’ Wells added.

El Cajon’s ban drew international attention last week when a dozen of activists were issued citations for distributing food to the homeless at Wells Park. 

Critics said El Cajon’s ban was meant to dehumanize and criminalize the homeless and in protest staged several food-sharing events at the park.

Activist Mark Lane, who organized a group called ‘Break the Ban,’ was one of dozens of people who were cited with misdemeanor charges for violating city code, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Critics said El Cajon's ban was meant to dehumanize and criminalize the homeless and in protest staged several food-sharing events at the park

Critics said El Cajon’s ban was meant to dehumanize and criminalize the homeless and in protest staged several food-sharing events at the park

The volunteer group, Break the Ban (pictured) handed out food to homeless people at Wells Park in El Cajon. One of the twelve volunteers, all of whom were issued citations, was only 14 years old

The volunteer group, Break the Ban (pictured) handed out food to homeless people at Wells Park in El Cajon. One of the twelve volunteers, all of whom were issued citations, was only 14 years old

Lane told the newspaper that ‘the ban was unconstitutional and one of four in a series of criminalizing ordinances in El Cajon’.

He said he and other protesters believe that El Cajon ‘very clearly has a plan to move the homeless out of their city in order to not have to give services to them’.  

Some activists in Lane’s group, Break the Ban, were arrested on January 14 for their violation of the city’s code due to their alleged ‘crime’.

‘It was really a disguise,’ attorney Scott Dreher told NBC San Diego. ‘People were complaining homeless people will come to the park if you give them free stuff.’

The volunteer group was handing out food to homeless people at Wells Park in El Cajon.

One of the twelve volunteers, all of whom were issued citations, was only 14 years old. 

The citizens could face up to a $1,000 fine and even jail for the act of feeding the homeless. The volunteers were also handing out clothing and toiletries

The citizens could face up to a $1,000 fine and even jail for the act of feeding the homeless. The volunteers were also handing out clothing and toiletries

The citizens could face up to a $1,000 fine and even jail for the act of feeding the homeless. The volunteers were also handing out clothing and toiletries. 

‘What we’re saying is feeding them at city parks is a bad idea given the situation,’ a councilmember told NBC San Diego.

Sunday’s ‘feed the homeless’ event was the fourth such event Break the Ban has put on since October, Fox5SanDiego reported. 

‘The only people not allowed to be served in this park and all of El Cajon are the homeless,’ event co-organizer Leslie Gollub told the station. 

‘It was absolutely necessary to break this law until they were willing to enforce it, and, now that they have, we will continue this fight in court,’ co-organizer Shane Parmely told the San Diego Union-Tribune last week.

Hepatitis A is a liver virus generally caused by the spread of touched objects, food or sexual intercourse.

There is a vaccine for the disease.   



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