Breaking: Safehouse’s Plan to Open will be Significantly Delayed

Jose Benitez, President of Safehouse and Ronda Goldfein, Vice President of Safehouse, are pictured speaking to residents in Harrowgate in April of 2019.

Attorneys for a group of Civic organizations that are opposing the opening of a Safe Injection Site in Philadelphia announced that Judge McHugh has granted U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain’s motion to stay the opening of injection sites. Shannon Farrell, President of the Harrowgate Civic Association, shared the news directly from the attorneys:

“Moments ago Judge McHugh issued an order granting U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain’s emergency motion to stay the opening of injection facilities.  The order effectively prevents Safehouse from opening a facility prior to a ruling by the Third Circuit on appeal.  Judge McHugh explained that, while he stands by his decision that injection facilities are lawful, he recognizes that their opening will cause some degree of disruption in the City.  In light of current events, including the pandemic and the events following the death of George Floyd, he determined that it would not be in the public interest to see such a facility opened at this time, while there is much strain on City government and law enforcement and the nerves of so many are frayed.”

The letter continued: “Of note, Judge McHugh criticizes Safehouse for attempting to open a facility in South Philly without consulting the affected neighborhoods.  He calls this attempt “naïve,” and explains that the backlash has shown that substantial planning and local community support will be necessary before such a facilities can be opened.”

The attorneys concluded : “At this rate, we would not expect a ruling from the Third Circuit until early next year.  And because Judge McHugh’s stay remains in place until the Third Circuit issues a decision, Safehouse’s plans to open will be significantly delayed at the very least.”

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