Philadelphia Homeless Feeding Ban Officially Blocked By Judge

Judge: City Can Officially Feed Homeless

A judge in Philadelphia has brought the gavel down on the homeless feeding ban in Philadelphia.

Federal Judge William H. Yohn Jr. released a 56-page opinion blocking Mayor Michael Nutter's ban on feeding the homeless in public spaces, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"It hardly needs to be said that plaintiffs' food-sharing programs benefit the public interest," Yohn wrote. "Despite [the city's] considerable efforts, many Philadelphians remain homeless and hungry."

Yohn had set the oral argument in July, saying he would follow up with a written, comprehensive ruling later, according to the news source.

Homeless advocates, and others who opposed Nutter's, ban argued that the city was trying to remove homeless people from the metropolitan area's parkway.

Mayor Michael Nutter has said the effort's intention was to get homeless people indoors, ensuring physical and mental health treatment as well as food, according to Reuters.

"Many are not just hungry," Nutter said. "They have other needs."

Within hours of Yohn's preliminary injunction on Friday, Nutter's administration filed notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, according to the Inquirer.

Philadelphia is but one example of a city taking drastic measures that opponents perceive as criminalizing homelessness.

Cities including Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles and more than 50 others have adopted anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws, the Religion News Service reports.

Philadelphia itself has faced much backlash from charities and advocates. Chosen 300 is one of four charities that sued the city of Philadelphia when it banned outdoor feeding of its residents that live on the streets, according to NBC.

But the Philadelphia-based religious charity, which continued feeding the homeless when the ban was in limbo, never had any intention of paying heed to the ban, according to NBC.

“We're going to break the law, in the city's view were breaking the law," Reverend Brian Jenkins, head of Chosen 300 Ministries, told NBC back in July. In our view, it's the command of Christ."

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Philadelphia Homeless Feeding Ban

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