Philly ban on feeding homeless in public parks begins Friday

Philadelphia’s ban on feeding the hungry in public parks goes into effect Friday. Initiation of the new policy follows a City Council hearing on the issue Thursday.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and a few others took part in the hearing on banning handing out meals in Philadelphia parks.

Brian Jenkins of Chosen 300 Ministries says the Nutter administration is just trying to move homeless people off the Ben Franklin Parkway and out of the sight of tourists and visitors to the Barnes Foundation galleries.

“The sidewalk on Spring Garden Street is OK, but not a public park. The message is that the homeless can have their dignity eating on the sidewalk but not in a public park,” Jenkins charged.

“These regulations are clearly designated not with the intent of protecting the dignity of the homeless but to tuck the homeless in a corner and to pretend that the problem does not exist in our city,” he said.

Blackwell, who called for the hearing, believes the new rule only hurts the homeless.

“Instead of criticizing and outlawing the good works of individuals who try to feed people, we feel that this ban only makes matters worse,” she said.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter says it’s City Council’s prerogative to discuss the issue, but the administration has already had at least three hearings on the matter.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal