Advocates for the homeless in Langley say they’re being targeted by the city — all for handing out a few sandwiches to those in need.
Kimberly Snow, founder of the non-profit Kimz Angels, says her group and the Langley Vineyard Church have been slapped with six tickets, totaling $800, because they’ve been handing out sandwiches in Rotary Park.
“We don’t want to fight, we just want to feed the homeless,” Snow told Global News.
“What kind of a world do we live in if we get tickets and we get fines because you’re doing something nice?”
The tickets have been for a variety of infractions, ranging from holding a public gathering without a permit to being an unauthorized mobile vendor to even parking too far from a curb.
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But while the groups have been cited for a handful of different bylaw violations, the city is clear about why they’re being focused on.
“It’s not only the distribution of the food, but also the lingering effects. So we’re just trying to protect the city park from potentially being an entrenched homeless camp,” said City of Langley Chief Administrative Officer Francis Cheung.
“We don’t want to escalate this, but we have to do what we have to do to send a message.”
But to the homeless, who have come to rely on groups like Kimz Angels to keep their bellies full, the city’s actions appear to be heavy handed and cruel.
“We’re human, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the street or not, we’re still human beings,” said Jean Moulton, one of the food recipients.
“We’re suffering, we need to eat. It’s survival,” added Lena Fyfe.
The city says that it’s not cracking down on the handing out of food itself, and that groups like Kimz are welcome to serve out of the church or partner up at another location.
But if they continue to use the park, they’re being warned they may see more tickets.