04/25/2014 05:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

You Can Now Be Fined Nearly $700 For Feeding The Homeless In This Italian City

DAMIEN MEYER via Getty Images

Verona has a homeless problem.

On one side, there's mayor Flavio Tosi, who passed a local ordinance that imposes a fine of up to 500 euros (nearly $700) on anyone who feeds a homeless person in the town's center. On the other side, there are the homeless citizens of the Italian city, and the charitable organizations that provide food and supplies for them.

The Italian mayor recently signed the ordinance into law following complaints from local residents. He defended his action by pointing out that he wants keep homeless encampments from popping up in town squares, L'Huffington Post reports.

However, despite his defense, Tosi has faced much criticism for the fines.

Marco Tezza, president of Ronda della Carità, a volunteer organization that helps the homeless, criticized Tosi's approach to the issue at hand.

"We go where we’re needed," Tezza said, according to The Independent. "If there are problems with hygiene and public order you boost safeguards and increase controls. Fining those who bring them food is not the answer."

Fortunately, it seems there is an expiration on the controversial ordinance. As GBTimes notes, the homeless feeding ban will expire on Oct. 31.

Similar attempts to bar people from feeding the homeless have cropped up in the U.S.

In 2012, a group of charities challenged a law in Philadelphia that barred people from feeding the homeless on city parkland. At the time, Mayor Michael Nutter maintained that the ban would incite the city's homeless to seek shelter indoors. Ultimately, the ban was blocked by a federal judge who ruled that groups could continue to provide food for the homeless in Philadelphia.

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