Published July 14, 2012
A judge has blocked Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s attempt at banning groups from serving homeless people in public parks.
Members of Liberti Fairmount Church serve homeless people like Tere Kaufman sandwiches, potato salad and other goodies a couple times a month, MyFoxPhiladelphia.com reports.
"I was glad I had waited. It’s been 24 hours since I've eaten," Kaufman told the website.
But Mayor Nutter says there is danger in the practice as it has the potential to spread food-borne illnesses it robs homeless people of their dignity.
"Dignity! That is ridiculous,” Kaufman said, “There is nothing undignified, the sun shining down and eating outdoors,” she told the website.
"The outdoor food service as it is conducted is inconsistent with overall and comprehensive
enjoyment and use of that particular space," Nutter said.
The mayor wants to move outdoor serving centers in front of City Hall and eventually move the centers to four indoor Center City locations.
Jason Ford, who says he's a homeless law school graduate, thinks the mayor’s plan is misguided.
“That’s really the main issue, what are the causes of this problem,” Ford said, “not to hide it or push it out of the way.”
Improvements to the visitor center along the Parkway have recently been made.
Elena Kachanova said she and her son enjoy playing in the new wading pool which is part of recent improvements made to the city’s public park, but she says the path to progress shouldn't come at the cost of those less fortunate.
"I know it’s an uncomfortable scene for regular citizens, but we should be witnessing what life is for some people,” Kachanova told MyFoxPhiladelphia.com.