Nutter Feeds Us a Load of Crap With New Homeless Rule

By Daniel Rackley

One of the great things about starting the second term of a period in office is that you can afford to enact ridiculous regulations—all the while sparing yourself the burden of worrying about losing your job. Mayor Nutter now has that luxury, and appears to be putting it to use rather quickly.

Nutter has launched what is essentially an attack on Philadelphia’s less fortunate and the people who wish to give them a helping hand. The regulation banning community organizations from feeding the homeless in city parks will be taking effect a month from now. It will be a crime to give a man a sandwich or a cup of soup without a permit from the city.  Violators—as painful as it is to call them that—will face two warnings followed by a $150 fine.

Come on now, Mr. Mayor: You can’t possibly be serious about this. What you’re doing may not be illegal but it certainly skims the line of immoral. It’s one thing to tell people where they can and cannot park their cars. But it’s quite another to tell people where they can and cannot eat—especially if they can’t get the food themselves. (P.S. A great many of the city’s homeless are veterans. Such a great way to honor those who served by telling them it is going to be harder for them to get food.)

It may be completely coincidental that the ban is scheduled to go into effect close to the opening of the new Barnes Foundation on the Ben Franklin Parkway. It may also be completely coincidental that the ban is coming before the start of the summer tourism season. But then again, it may not; the timing of is akin to someone getting a less-than-perfect member of the family out of the house before the neighbors arrive for a dinner party.

Let’s not forget to mention that Nutter had no problem with Occupy Philly protesters living at Dilworth Plaza—with no expiration date. To the financial tune of tens of thousands of dollars a day in police overtime.

Sure, you could say that the city is throwing charitable organizations a bone by setting up temporary food distribution locations outside City Hall.  But it sounds more like Nutter is trying to corral the city’s homeless into as few spots as possible to risk potential embarrassment.

Unfortunately, he’s already embarrassed himself by announcing this in the first place. The city should not regulate where and how a church group hands out food to the homeless. The shelters are overcrowded, not to mention that at the end of 2011, the Ridge Avenue men’s shelter had to shut its doors. That is why food is being handed out in public to begin with.

Mr. Mayor: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Daniel Rackley is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer.

7 Responses to “ Nutter Feeds Us a Load of Crap With New Homeless Rule ”

  1. August Jones says:

    The indoor feeding sites & soup kitchen use rotten & expired food-bank discards for meals; the people who provide the food outside use fresh food without tons of added salt to mask the spoilage….

  2. August Jones says:

    How about getting the homeless in REAL HOUSING, REAL CAREER TRAINING, and REAL JOBS so they can cook their own meals in their REAL HOUSING from food they bought from the store with money they earned at their REAL JOBS?

  3. Really? says:

    And the Dr. Ernest McNealey award goes to…

  4. Robert says:

    Take the city to court, don’t let them do this to the homeless, to the city, to the soup kitchens.

  5. Todd Ryan says:

    An absolute outrage. U reap what u sow…

  6. Joe C. says:

    I know this makes me a bad person and all, but the last thing I want when I’m trying to enjoy a nice day at the park is a swarm of homeless people peeing and grunting at me. Whoever wrote this column clearly lives in a section of the city that doesn’t have a homeless problem. Try stepping over them on your front step and have them yell and follow you around for a year and then tell me you want them hanging around when you’re trying to enjoy a nice Saturday at the park with your kids.

    I say Mr. Nutter, more power to ya.

  7. ELAINE G says:

    how about the city feeds the homeless based on community service vouchers?

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