Mayor Nutter announces ban on feeding homeless outdoors

William Wascon sits on a bench at Love Park where he has slept recently.

Starting next month, it will be illegal to feed homeless people in city parks, under a controversial plan announced by Mayor Michael Nutter yesterday.

Nutter said the plan is intended to increase the health, safety and dignity of the city’s most vulnerable population. Once the new regulation takes affect, groups who feed the homeless outside will be permitted to do so outside City Hall, but they must register. Violators will be given two warnings, but a third infraction will come with a $150 fine.

“Providing to those who are hungry must not be about opening the car trunk, handing out a bunch of sandwiches, and then driving off into the dark and rainy night,” Nutter said.

While some homeless advocates voiced support for the plan, others say it will further harm the indigent and push them into the shadows.

“You have to put new systems in place,” said Christine Vaganos, a Drexel grad student who has volunteered at city shelters. “I don’t believe they have the capacity for every homeless person.”

William Wascon has been sleeping out near LOVE Park since losing his apartment recently. He decried the way the city currently treats homeless and said the new regulation does not take into some people’s lack of mobility and skepticism about government.

“I got bad legs, sometimes I can’t make it [to a shelter or church],” he said.

For some time, charitable groups have provided meals for homeless people on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway or at Love Park weekly. Nutter’s office denied speculation that the move was done to prepare for the opening of a Barnes Museum and Rodin Museum on the Parkway later this year.

“We have wrestled with this for some years and it just so happens it’s not linked to the opening of a particular place on the Parkway,” Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald said.


Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…


Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…


Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…


Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'


Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.


'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version


Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.


MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind


Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.


This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…


This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…


Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.


5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.