In October, the El Cajon City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that prohibits food distribution on city-owned property, a move that unfairly targets homeless people in the San Diego County city.
Councilmembers say that the ordinance was approved in response to a recent hepatitis A outbreak that killed 20 people and that the ban on food distribution will protect the public. In reality, this ordinance is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt at criminalizing homelessness. Please sign this petition asking the city council to repeal the discriminatory ordinance and provide real solutions to the hepatitis A crisis.
Though the ordinance explicitly bans food-distribution on city-owned property, it does not prohibit people from serving food at social gatherings on city-owned property. That's right - people can serve food to their friends and family, but it's a crime to give food to someone in need.
Hepatitis A is spread when a person accidentally consumes a trace amount of fecal matter on food, a beverage, or another material. It can be avoided by regular handwashing. If El Cajon really wants to protect people from hepatitis A, it should provide enough public bathrooms and/or handwashing stations and regularly maintain them. It can also provide hepatitis A vaccinations to the homeless. Starving homeless people is not the answer to hepatitis A. El Cajon must do better. Please join in demanding that the city council immediately rescind this discriminatory ordinance and reevaluate how it plans to combat the city's hepatitis A problem.