Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to ban feeding the homeless became law on Friday. One group encourages others to violate the Parkway feeding ban, which has fines of up to $150 for each instance.
Nutter claims that the ban is actually out of concern for the well-being of the homeless who often get fed in the areas by outreach groups, citing that dignity and sanitary conditions are the reasons to put a stop to it.
“Providing to those who are hungry must not be about opening the car trunk, handing out a bunch of sandwiches, and then driving off into the dark and rainy night,” Nutter said.
However, co-founder of Project HOME, Sister Mary Scullion, who originally supported the proposal, now believes the mayor’s new ban went into effect to soon and should be lifted until there is another means to feed those in need.
She wrote in a letter sent to the mayor, that he has yet responded to, “We respectfully request that the ban on street feeding in Fairmount Park not be enforced until appropriate quality dining centers are in place.”
“The reality is that the proposed service-enriched dining centers are not yet in place,” Scullion said. “Those on the streets in need of food do not yet have the appropriate alternatives.”
Meanwhile, others believe the ban is a violation of civil rights. Brian Jenkins of Chosen 300 Ministries said, “The fact that city of Philadelphia is saying now that the homeless don’t have the right to eat on the Ben Franklin Parkway or eat around Center City is a clear violation of civil rights. It says that people that have … can eat in a certain place. But people that have not, can’t.”
One temporary solution is that the outreach groups will be allowed to serve meals on the north apron of City Hall as long as the register with the city.