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City of Palm Springs halts outreach group from feeding homeless

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – An outreach group called Street Life Project, has made feeding the homeless, its mission for years. Just recently, the group says Palm Springs Police shut down one of their locations at Sunrise Park.

Christian Jelmberg is the founder of Street Life Project, an outreach group that provides food to the homeless. For Christian, it’s much more than that.

“It’s not providing them food. It’s providing them love and love is powerful,” Christian Jelmberg said.

As of yesterday, the organization was forced to stop providing food at the well-known park.

“I was crushed. We’ve been serving the homeless for so many years now, and they become like family to us,” Jelmberg said.

The service is something so many people look forward to every Thursday evening. Jelmberg says even families with financial difficulty, also show up at times.

Lieutenant Gustavo Araiza with Palm Springs Police says getting large groups together is just a matter of obtaining the right qualifications.

“The reality is, if a group wants to get together and provide a service in the park they need to get a permit.”

Under the current code, groups of 6 or more fall under that category. Jelmberg says even that could be difficult.

“So it’s over 200 dollars plus the fees of providing the food. We’re an outreach ministry that doesn’t get government assistance.”

Lieutenant Araiza says another option could be to team up with other resources that the city offers.

“If we have these mobile groups that want to go out and provide food, we just want them to maybe partner with other resources so maybe they find a location where they can help them find food,” Araiza said.

Another big issue at Sunrise Park is the apparent drug use in the area. City officials are also concerned with keeping people safe.

“Being homeless and sitting in the park is not a crime. And this drug use is not just specific to the homeless but it affects them. And we’re finding that a lot of the people we are arresting are homeless,” Araiza said.

In all, it’s a balance between keeping the area safe, and being able to properly provide resources to those who need it.

“Our goal right now is to make the city happy and find another location. We want the city’s blessing with this,” Jelmberg said.

Street Life Project is now searching for nearby churches that would be willing to collaborate and allow them to operate elsewhere.

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KESQ News Team

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