Proposed regulations for feeding homeless in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Some are worried a proposed ordinance could be a game changer for how the homeless are fed in our city.

It would implement more oversight, but could cause some real headaches for non-profit organizations.

A man who met with 41 Action News Thursday, who asked that we only use his first name, lives out of a van.

"This is mainly the place I dress, sleep, eat," Tony said.

Tony doesn't always know where he'll get food.

"Most of the time I will buy my own food, but when I can't, 'Taking it to the Streets' is a real good source," he said.

We first met founder of "Taking it to the Streets" Scott Lamaster when a tornado ripped through Baxter Springs, Kan., last month.

The volunteers hand out hot meals in disaster areas and serve food to the homeless twice a week, visiting places like under the bridge at 1st and Grand.

"The whole purpose of what we do is to bring hope and encouragement into the lives of those that maybe have lost their way in life," Lamaster said.

Now, a city ordinance that has been introduced would regulate non-profits like his by requiring all food be labeled, mandating that non-profit managers have food handling permits and inspecting the kitchens where food is prepared.

"And that's the idea here, it's that we would have the same sort of standards to anybody who gives food to the public, whether they pay for it or not, but also that we can accurately say whose doing what activity," Scott Wagner said, 1st District At Large, Kansas City Councilman.

For people like Tony, the biggest hope is that nothing stands in the way of aiding the homeless who are trying to help themselves.

"I'll be 46 years old. I've been halfway around the world several times. I never thought I would be homeless," Tony said.

A city spokesperson said the ordinance will go to the full council next week.

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