Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter is coming under fire for his proposed policy to prevent homeless outreach organizations from feeding people in the city’s parks. Nutter asserts that he wants homeless people to be able to take their meals indoors so they can also have access to mental health and medical services.
“My motivation is not to exclude anyone,” Nutter said. “I want a hungry person in need to know they can go to a clean, dry place.”
But homeless advocates aren’t so sure. Many feel this move isn’t simply to help homeless individuals, but rather is about clearing them out of city parks, many of which are filled with tourists visiting the historic city.
Brian Jenkins, executive director of the Chosen 300 Ministries, told Philly.com the move is “a clear violation of civil rights.” He continued, “The reality is that before the Barnes Foundation comes in, they are trying to get people off the Parkway.”
This fight is just another in a long line of squabbles about how to best serve the city’s growing poor population. Although both sides seem to be concerned about doing the right thing, sadly, people who are the most vulnerable are caught in the middle.
What do you think? Is Mayor Nutter making the right choice?