Nutter to Testify on Outdoor Homeless Meal Ban

City argues ban is due to safety concerns not nearby museums

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012  |  Updated 11:32 AM EDT
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Nutter to Testify on Homeless Meal Ban

AP

Food lines would be moved inside under Mayor Michael Nutter's plan.

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Mayor Michael Nutter is expected to testify before a judge who is hearing a challenge to a city ordinance banning outdoor meal service to Philadelphia's homeless.

Religious groups are challenging the ordinance, saying it violates their religious and free-assembly rights. The city says the unregulated feedings are a public health danger because of a high risk of food contamination.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports church pastors who oppose the ban testified Monday. Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis also testified, saying the free food stretches city park resources.

Homeless advocates and the religious groups say the city is trying to force the homeless out of sight, particularly along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a key tourist destination where many of the city's museums are located including the new relocated Barnes Foundation.

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