liberti Fairmount has led the charge to battle the Board of Health’s proposed regulation, with an open letter to the city government. Many other organizations, including the Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia, have joined liberti Fairmount in our efforts to serve God by serving His most vulnerable people.
In the brief time since these letters were drafted, Mayor Nutter has moved quickly to demand, via his executive power, an end to all feeding of homeless Philadelphians in City Parks. Mayor Nutter’s directive is clearly aimed at circumventing the Board of Health’s process, which would allow public comment and address concerns. His directive responds to criticisms that picnics and other public gatherings with food would also be regulated: he has exempted these types of “feedings.”
Mayor Nutter’s supposed reasons for the ban, “increasing the health, safety, dignity and support for those vulnerable individuals” is not credible. He has not explained why indoor feedings are not regulated, nor has he proposed increasing funding to truly support the health, safety, and dignity of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. On the contrary, just last month we learned that the city is cutting funding for “[h]omeless-outreach services,…detoxification, residential-rehab inpatient and outpatient treatment” as well as other services for our most needy neighbors. At the time, Deputy Mayor Schwarz, who favors the regulation, had bemoaned the cuts for jeopardizing the most vulnerable Philadelphians.
The Chosen 300 has responded to Mayor Nutter’s directive with the following letter, that calls for “the pending legislation [to] be discarded and replaced with a task force made up of individuals, church representatives and organizations who currently share meals to those in need. [The Chosen 300] also recommend the City Of Philadelphia…allocate needed dollars for safe food handling training and request that the city provide available funding so groups will have the opportunity to purchase equipment and items necessary to enhance the quality of meals served to those in need.”