The City Council’s Subcommittee on Homelessness and Community Issues met Wednesday to hear ideas about creating a lunchtime food distribution system for homeless persons in the city and move away from the large free lunch currently operating at Casa Esperanza. The combined efforts of Casa’s Community Kitchen and the Organic Soup Kitchen (OSK) would ideally serve food in locations where other services that homeless people need can be provided. The goal would be to lessen the impact of homeless traffic on the Milpas corridor.
Currently, Casa Esperanza’s Community Kitchen offers the only lunch program available seven days a week to shelter residents and non-residents. According to shelter director Mike Foley, they serve over 200 meals daily 365 days a year. Milpas residents and business owners say the meal program is the source of loitering and other problems they believe the presence of homeless people in the area cause.
The proposal to limit the impact of the homeless on Milpas would involve downsizing the lunch at Casa Esperanza to serve only residents. However, those in charge at Casa have made it clear they would only be open to this idea if adequate services to provide 100+ meals per day could be offered elsewhere in the city. Criteria for finding appropriate locations would demand they be easily accessible to the homeless, would not have a large impact on the neighborhood and that ongoing funding could be provided for use of the locations. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.