Nutter Defends Homeless Feeding Policy on ‘Radio Times’
Mayor Michael Nutter called into WHYY’s Radio Times this morning to speak about his administration’s new homeless feeding policy, which has become the object of scorn amongst several groups, including local feeding services and Occupy Philly.
“Unfortunately there’s been a fair amount of…misinformation about what people have heard vs. what I actually said,” the mayor began on his call to Marty Moss-Coane. “This is about outdoor food service in a mass fashion. It is providing food to people who need it by the many good natured, kind, caring people here in Philadelphia.”
As has been reported by just about every Philadelphia media outlet, the city’s new homeless feeding policy bans outdoor feeding in all city parks while establishing a new, temporary food distribution location on the City Hall apron. If you want to continue feeding the homeless, you need to acquire a permit and sign up with the Department of Public Property while reserving the days for your activity. Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz claimed the initiative came out of the city observing Occupy Philly serving food to the homeless without a universal standard for food safety.
While on the radio, Nutter admitted this all was the case.
“You can still feed and provide food service outdoors if you get a permit, which is free, and go through a food safety program which is also free,” he said. “So, many people [can] continue to provide the service outside their doors.”
Nutter also claimed that “as a black man,” it’s hard for him to drive through Philly and see people standing in 90-degree heat or 20-degree cold to get a sandwich, so he just wants to make that better. He said it has nothing to do with moving the city’s homeless population from the Parkway in time for the Barnes Museum’s opening.
Moss-Coane invited two homeless advocates on afterwards to discuss the situation and allowed callers to chime in, as well. All were upset by the proposal. Listen here.
As we’ve noted, Philadelphia’s new homeless feeding rule is not unique to us. In addition, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has drafted new policy that would reject food donations to government facilities that provide food for the homeless, noting nutrition. Some have argued these new rules in big cities are in preparation for new Occupy protests in the spring and summer.