In recent weeks, Ordinance 140412 — better known as the food sharing ordinance — has been an issue of contention among residents of Kansas City. The ordinance would require different permitting for food sharing organizations. An outline of what it would and wouldn't do is listed here.

Downtown residents realize that homelessness is an unfortunate reality of urban living, and have been committed to reshaping that reality by working to provide the kinds of services that will end the cycle of homelessness for many of our neighbors.

Because of this, we do support this ordinance. Because these are indeed our neighbors; because we know many by their names; and because we also see what happens long after various on-the-street charities leave the neighborhood after dispensing food and personal care items.

The streets of our neighborhood are often left littered with trash. The unnatural concentrations of the homeless populations make our neighborhood feel unsafe. Most importantly, these services do nothing to provide our homeless neighbors with the services they really need. We hope that this ordinance would provide a renewed focus on finding care and housing for homeless individuals, instead of enabling the status quo.

Those compassionate services are there. We believe that the on-the-street homeless outreach efforts prevent individuals from reaching the resources that can genuinely help them, perpetuating the problems of homelessness, and challenging the neighborhood in the process. We support regulations that protect our homeless neighbors in the streets, while positioning service delivery toward the holistic care we have supported and believe to be the path to meaningful progress toward solving the issues of homelessness.