California church asked by authorities to stop feeding the homeless

Authorities in Malibu, California, has asked a Christian church on Nov. 6 to stop its feeding program for homeless people as continuing it allegedly worsens the problem of homelessness.

(REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson)Stacie McDonough, 51, eats lunch by her tent in a homeless RV and tent encampment near LAX airport in Los Angeles, California, United States, October 26, 2015.

The United Methodist Church in Malibu has been serving meals to homeless people every Wednesday since 2014 and can accommodate from 70 to 100 people at a time. However, the church received a request from the city that asked them to stop feeding the homeless people after Thanksgiving, CBS Los Angeles relayed.

According to UMC, they received an email from the city inviting its members for a meeting on Nov. 6. When they arrived, they were surprised when they were instructed to halt their food service so as not to aggravate the problem of homelessness.

"Very succinctly," said Dawn Randall of UMC. "They claimed we are increasing homelessness."

Michah Johnson, a homeless person, expressed appreciation for UMC's efforts to provide for them a safe place, home-cooked food, and TLC. He also said the church encourages him and keeps him accountable while adding that he had just landed a job despite his state of homelessness.

In light of the city's request, Kay Gabbard of UMC guessed that many of the homeless people were eating out of dumpsters at times that the church does not provide meals. She added that they cannot ignore the problem of homelessness, especially since it was a reality in their own neighborhood.

During a forum at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, Alpha Project chief operating officer Amy Gonyeau urged people to stop giving food to the homeless in parking lots. She said street handouts do not provide permanent solutions to the problem, no matter how good the intention is, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

Gonyeau added that feeding services only encourage homeless people to remain where they are instead of empowering them to get out of their situation. Her non-profit runs programs that provide job training, housing, and drug and alcohol treatment for the homeless.