From the New York Times:
Las Vegas, whose homeless population has doubled in the past decade to about 12,000 people in and around the city, joins several other cities across the country that have adopted or considered ordinances limiting the distribution of charitable meals in parks. Most have restricted the time and place of such handouts, hoping to discourage homeless people from congregating and, in the view of officials, ruining efforts to beautify downtowns and neighborhoods.
But the Las Vegas ordinance is believed to be the first to explicitly make it an offense to feed “the indigent.”
The ordinance does not apply to the famous Las Vegas Strip, which lies mostly in unincorporated Clark County, but it demonstrates both the growing pains the city has endured as tourism has boomed, and the steps Las Vegas is taking to regulate where entrenched populations of homeless people can gather. And eat.
“The government here doesn’t care about anybody,” said one homeless woman, Linda Norman, 55, taking a bottle of water and already perspiring in morning heat approaching 100 degrees at Huntridge Circle Park, a manicured, well-watered three-acre patch of green in a residential area near downtown. “We just want to eat.”
Las Vegas officials said the ordinance was not aimed at casual handouts from good Samaritans. Instead, they said it would be enforced against people like Ms. Sacco, whose regular offerings, they said, have lured the homeless to parks and have led to complaints by residents about crime, public drunkenness and litter.
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