Philadelphia officials, homeless advocates work out compromise

    Philadelphia officials and homeless advocates have worked out a compromise on a bill to battle aggressive panhandling in Philadelphia.

    Councilman Frank DiCicco’s bill is designed to combat aggressive panhandling, but the emotional issue had tempers flaring. Paul Levy of the Center City District described the compromise as way to keep the requirement that an outreach worker be called as well as conforming to state regulations on unruly behavior.

    “If I went out into the street dressed like this, swearing and screaming and fighting, I should be arrested” he said. “It’s behavior, not status in life.”

    Homeless advocate Sister Mary Scullion says she is pleased that the bill will not criminalize homelessness.

    “We think that this is a good compromise and we think this is a victory because it does address the major concerns about criminalization that we raised here,” she said. “We’re very, very happy about the amended bill.”

    The bill now goes to the full council for approval.

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