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Gentle endorsement for Nutter homeless policy

A newspaper written and produced by homeless people gives a soft endorsement to Mayor Nutter's outdoor feeding policy.

As endorsements go, this one wasn't exactly ringing. But an editorial from a newspaper written and produced by homeless people that cautiously supports Nutter's effort to end mass feedings on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway does seem like a small victory for the mayor.

In its most recent edition, the newspaper opined: "Mayor's sandwich solution could help nip homelessness, hunger."

Nutter has repeatedly denied that he wants to get homeless people off the Parkway to keep them out of sight of the tourists expected to mob the new Barnes Foundation. One Step Away's editorial board doesn't buy that.

"...and yes, the opening of the Barnes Museum on the Parkway and the tourism it should attract is a factor and let's not pretend it isn't," the editorial says.

Nutter has said he wants to end the outdoor feedings because they are unsanitary and because he wants people to have a good meal indoors, where they can also get counseling and other services.

And on that idea, the mayor and One Step Away are sympatico.

"Mayor Nutter must be held to that promise," the editorial says.

Resources for Human Development, or RHD, publishes the paper. RHD has contracts with the city to provide services to the homeless, including shelter, but the organization does not provide outdoor meals.

The paper's editor, Kevin Roberts, said his editorial board "hotly debated" the topic. Some of the debaters have participated in the free meals, but the group decided that if Nutter genuinely is going to try to reduce poverty, homelessness and hunger, they would back him.

"We're talking about whether people can eat inside or outside," Roberts said, "but the real issue is that people are hungry."

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