Las Vegas' ban on feeding homeless
Las Vegas has been ordered by a federal court to stop enforcing its ordinance that prohibits people from feeding the homeless in city parks.
struck down by federal court
But the permanent injunction issued by Judge Robert Jones today allows the city to continue to enforce trespassing laws in parks and to require permits for gatherings of more than 25 people.
The ruling is the latest development in a 14-month-old federal court action that set the ACLU of Nevada and homeless advocates against the city.
Gail Sacco, a plaintiff in the federal court lawsuit, has been cited multiple times for feeding the homeless in city parks. She said she's glad the ordinance has been struck down, but she is concerned that requiring permits for large gatherings will lead to future problems. It's hard to predict how many people will show up when she is at a park, she said.
The food is a way of reaching out to people and establishing trust, and once people are fed, they are open to accepting other forms of aid, such as finding permanent housing and jobs, she said.
Read the Los Angeles Times report here.
Update: Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith comments on the court ruling. "On the growing list of constitutional transgressions dreamed up by local government in recent years," he writes, "none pegged the insanity meter like the city of Las Vegas ordinance that bans citizens handing out food in a park to a person who appears indigent." Read more here.