Criminalizing Homelessness & Poverty
Once you have been deemed a criminal, you can pretty much kiss your remaining assets goodbye. Not only will you face the aforementioned court costs, but you’ll have a hard time ever finding a job again once you’ve acquired a criminal record. And then of course, the poorer you become, the more likely you are to get in fresh trouble with the law, making this less like a “cycle” and more like the waterslide to hell.
Miami Considers Jailing Homeless People For Eating, Sleeping In Public "As though life weren’t already difficult enough for people who can’t afford regular housing, they could soon find themselves thrown in jail and their possessions confiscated if they’re caught engaging in certain everyday activities in public." 7/16/13
Laws allowing police to ticket and arrest homeless people for sleeping in a car, sitting on the sidewalk — or even leaving their bags on the sidewalk while they use a bathroom — are part of a larger strategy to criminalize homelessness and by extension, poverty, according to attorneys and advocates for homeless people at a conference at the UC Irvine School of Law. 4/1/13
A formerly homeless man is challenging the constitutionality of three City of Vancouver bylaws that prohibit sleeping on streets or in parks and erecting a shelter on city property. Clarence Taylor, 57, says the bylaws violate his right to life, liberty and security of person. 11/21/12
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Complaints about some homeless people setting up makeshift shelters and leaving belongings on beaches, in parks and at City Hall have prompted a rule against camping in public areas. 11/6/12
Homeless complaints prompt 'no camping' rule in Huntington Beach
Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson and other council members are calling on city leadership to develop a more aggressive position to curb increasing reports of misconduct among the homeless downtown. 11/2/12 Instead of creating opportunity, Savannah may criminalize activities.
A growing number of cities want to tackle the problem of homelessness by outlawing what are known as "acts of daily living" — sleeping, eating and panhandling in public. In Philadelphia, a new rule is targeting not the homeless but those who feed them. 7/6/12
A growing number of cities across the United States are making it harder to be homeless. 6/11/12
Los Angeles, CA. The homeless and a fight for L.A.'s sidewalks: City officials should not arbitrarily sweep streets of homeless people's belongings. Police, the homeless and neighbors concerned about clutter need to negotiate a compromise. 4/5/12
Don't treat America's homeless as criminals - On nearly every front, municipalities are cracking down on the homeless: 24% prohibit begging, 22% prohibit loitering and 16% say it's illegal to sleep in public places. On any given night, about 636,000 Americans are homeless. It might soon rise. Recent evidence suggests that the effects of the economic downturn on the homeless are intensifying. (Arjun Sethi USA TODAY)
Column: Don't treat America's homeless as criminals. 2/14/2012
St. Petersburg, FL. ORDINANCES & LAWS REGARDING HOMELESSNESS
Philadelphia, PA. "The bill to put more teeth in Philadelphia's law against aggressive panhandling is on hold. The bill would allow Philadelphia police to make decisions on the spot when they run into people harassing others for money. Homeless advocate Sister Mary Scullion says she doesn't want the law to change."
San Francisco, CA. The most recent law affecting homeless people is the “sit-lie” ordinance, which prohibits people from sitting or lying on the sidewalk from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m, unless the person patronizes a business or has a medical necessity. It was spearheaded by then-mayor Gavin Newsom and approved by 54 percent of city voters in 2010.
San Diego, CA. Under terms of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by homeless advocates, San Diego police officers can issue citations for illegal lodging and even take someone into custody. But there has to be a bed available in a shelter, and the person in question has to refuse it.