City sets new rules for feeding the hungry

Here's the release:


Philadelphia, March 14, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a series of actions designed to encourage hungry Philadelphians, and those who feed the hungry outdoors, to move to indoor locations over the next year.

“Today, I am announcing a new policy initiative aimed at increasing the health, safety, dignity and support for those vulnerable individuals who now gain their daily and often less than daily sustenance from well-intentioned people distributing food on City streets,” said Mayor Nutter. “For many years people of good conscience have fed the hungry on the streets of Philadelphia and I very much appreciate their efforts. But I believe we all can do better. I believe that if we join together, marshal our good will and resources, that we can help vulnerable, hungry people of Philadelphia in more effective ways.”

The Mayor instructed the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation to issue a regulation that will ban outdoor feeding in all City parks. This regulation will be enacted on Thursday, March 15, and will go into effect in 30 days. This regulation will not affect family picnics or permitted events in parks.

The Mayor also instructed the Commissioner of Public Property to establish a temporary food distribution location on the City Hall apron. All outdoor feeders who want to use the City Hall apron will be required to sign up with the Department of Public Property and reserve the days and times for their activity. The City of Philadelphia will provide water and porto-potties on the apron. This location will be available for up to one year.

In addition to these two actions, the Mayor created a working group of external stakeholders and senior Administration staff to devise a plan over the next 90 days to engage those who eat outdoors in order to help them move indoors to eat. At the same time, the working group will engage with those who want to provide food and encourage them to do so indoors.

Through education and other steps, the working group will seek to identify supports for the hungry and to connect current outdoor feeders with those who manage indoor facilities and with other outreach efforts to the hungry.