Food Program for Homeless Wins Reprieve

Reversing an earlier decision, the West Hollywood City Council voted 3 to 2 late Monday to allow a controversial food distribution program to continue operating at a city park.

The Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition distributes free food to about 150 homeless men and women at Plummer Park. City support for the program had faded in recent months in the wake of reports of violence, intimidation and unsanitary conditions at the food giveaway.

Last month, the council ordered the program to vacate the park by Nov. 1. The coalition continued to operate the food giveaway, however, while the City Council debated the matter.

But Monday, the council voted to allow the program to go on for at least another four months if the food coalition provides security and professional counseling services for the food recipients. The council also agreed to pay as much as $70,000 for additional foot patrols by sheriff's deputies.

"All we asked is that they not stop the program while we're trying to find another site for it," said coalition spokesman Mike Dean.

He said he was not sure where the program might relocate.

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