This afternoon the Corona Police Department released new guidelines surrounding the feeding of homeless people at City Park.  The controversial practice of serving food to area homeless has raised concerns among area residents who say the practice is drawing in homeless from outside of Corona and making the homeless probelm at City Park worse.  In today’s news release Corona Police cited these issues as well as food safety as the reason for the new regulations.

Under the new guidelines, groups like The Leela Project, who held an event this past December to benefit area homeless and members of Random Acts of Kindness who have held regular dinners with area homeless, would be required to obtain a “Special Use Permit” from the CIty of Corona as well as a “Food Distribution Permit” from the County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health.  The process for both permits can be initiated simultaneously, however the City permit must be granted prior to County permit approval.

In addition to announcing the changes online, the City of Corona will be posting signs at City Park educating the public about the violation of existing California Health and Safety Codes in hopes of discouraging the non-permitted distribution of food.  The Corona Police Departments HOPE (Homeless, Outreach & Psychological Evaluation) Team has also reached out to many of the groups currently providing food in the park to facilitate conversations around the safety concerns for homeless citizens, as well as the general public who use the park.

According to the release, the Corona PD has also met with members of the local clergy to discuss the safety and community concerns and to search for a solution. The members of the clergy and the Corona PD have both expressed their commitment to continue to meet and develop a solution to this issue.

Going forward, the HOPE Team, along with other Corona Police officers, will monitor City Park for the non-permitted distribution of food, and for a period of time will focus on the educational process rather than the enforcement process to inform those who have become accustomed to providing non-permitted food to our homeless citizens on the legal requirements to continue doing so.

For further details on how to obtain a “Special Use Permit” from the City of Corona, those interested can visit the Community Development Department at City Hall or contact them at (951) 736-2262. To obtain a “Food Distribution Permit” contact the County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health at (951) 273-9140.