Philadelphia Bans Feeding of Homeless, Angers Residents

Philadelphia has taken a radical step to clean up its parks by banning the feeding of homeless persons in outdoor facilities.

Though Mayor Michael Nutter has feels that "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," several organizations and citizens feel that the law is uncalled for.

"These regulations are clearly designated not with the intent of protecting the health and dignity of the homeless, but are designed to tuck the homeless in a corner and pretend that the problem does not exist in our city," Reverend Brian Jenkins said at a City Council Committee meeting.

According to Project H.O.M.E., there are approximately 4,000 homeless persons living in Philadelphia every day. This number "does not include those who are in transitional housing, low-demand residences, or in substandard/unfit living conditions."

"The fact that the 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, "Jenkins added."It says that people that have … can eat in a certain place, but people that have not, can't."

Others echo Jenkins' beliefs.

"These people aren't animals. Yes, there is the possibility that someone could poison the food and hand it out to people, but there is also the possibility to poison a child's Halloween candy, but we don't stop that tradition, now do we?" Kara posted on CBS's Philadelphia page.

"Feeding people and serving the needs of the people is a fundamental right," adds Erike Younge, writer for One Step Away. "And to ban it or to oppose it and not to work to solve this problem is unconstitutional and inhumane."

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