One of the saddest sights you might ever see is a homeless person trying to stay warm on the sidewalk, on a chilly winter night in tattered clothes and battered boots. It’s disheartening but true, that in many countries homelessness is becoming a growing concern
Is it really illegal to be homeless? The simple answer is No. Rest assured I have the answer to this concern and will explore the answer in depth. Even though society progresses and moves forward, it’s cruel how apathetic most people have become towards the homeless.
Imagine you woke up one day and lost everything. The roof over your head and the shelter you need. What would be your first though? How would you try to survive? Would you even know what kind of trouble you’d face? There’s a cornucopia of questions and concerns. I as add content to this blog I will provide some real-world answers regarding homelessness.
Homelessness in layman’s terms is not having a home. One does not have to be living on the streets to be called homeless. If you are living in a place where you have no legal right to stay, technically you can also be considered homeless. Homeliness is a state of being without a home, a place to stay or having permanent shelter. Anyone who does not have permanent shelter, or permanent residence where you can live in peace is called homeless. Now let’s discuss the main issue at hand. Is Homelessness Illegal:
Is Homelessness Illegal:
It is a common misconception that being homeless is against the law. This is not entirely true. Most people believe that homelessness in itself is a crime. This is simply not true. Being homeless in itself is not illegal. It is not possible for the state or country to punish citizens simply for not being able to have sufficient housing and shelter.
However there are some valid reason to which lead to this fair assumptions. There are acts that are associated with homeless that are illegal.
Homeless Being Targeted By Laws:
Some of the things that homeless citizens do in public are illegal. And many of these crimes are illegal for any citizen. Not just people who fall into the homeless status. Rough sleepers in homeless communities feel unfair targeted by some of the laws currently on the books. But ask a cop and he or she will tell you that it is not the case.
Often local businesses complain to law enforcement. Then the police come in and move the homeless along to the next county or city.
A few communities in the United States are pushing to pass legislation in some cities making homeless illegal. This sends mix signals to the homeless community I feel. On one handy, cities are saying they want to help the homeless. Helping the homeless is fantastic.
But making homelessness illegal sends a whole different message to homeless community. To my knowledge there is no laws on the books that states homelessness is illegal.
But there are laws like: no littering, no sleeping in public or urban camping. Just to name a few laws that homeless feel targeted by. And I’m sure there are many other laws that are directed at homeless individuals. So they end up not trusting nobody. Missing out on the much needed help from organizations.
States Using Ordinances Regarding Homelessness:
In a case stemming from city ordinances in Boise, Idaho. United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that laws banning sleeping or camping in public places violates the Constitution if no shelter space is available.
The case stems from two ordinances in Boise, Idaho, that make it a crime to sleep or camp in buildings, streets and other public places. Six homeless people who had been convicted under the laws sued the city in 2009, saying their constitutional rights had been violated.
After years of legal wrangling, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said in a 32-page option report that Boise’s ordinances “criminalize the simple act of sleeping outside on public property, whether bare or with a blanket or other basic bedding.” The panel added that “a municipality cannot criminalize such behavior consistently with the Eighth Amendment when no sleeping space is practically available in any shelter.”
In their summary of the opinion, the judges wrote, “As long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.
Texas- Sleeping In Public Law:
Some cities in Texas appear in a national list of places with the harshest homelessness enforcement law. A list of the 20 “meanest cities” for homelessness contained Dallas at number six and Houston in seventh place. Dallas has also accused over its harsh homelessness laws by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Between 2012 and 2015, for example, police in Dallas ticketed more than 11,000 people who were accused of sleeping in public,, reported the Dallas Observer. The offense carries a $146 fine. It goes without saying that if you are sleeping rough you are unlikely to afford to pay the fine. The Observer article said many of the city’s homeless owe thousands of dollars in fines they cannot pay.
The city made sleeping in public illegal in Dallas back in the early 1990’s. Dallas couched the laws in terms of “quality of life” ordinances. Curfews were imposed in city parks and it became illegal to panhandle and rummage through trash cans. “The Observer” mused Dallas’ beefed up law to stop panhandlers was on constitutionally dangerous ground, pointing out free speech is protected under the First Amendment.
Keeping in view all the points discussed above it becomes very clear that these people are not exactly criminals. They are just human beings trying to survive in a very harsh world. Not only are they suffering from their own circumstances, they are also being pushed into a corner. So what do people like these do? How can they over come their circumstances and rise above their situations?
The answer may sound simple but for someone living out this harsh reality, it may not be so. Still, it is not impossible. Although the for those homeless folk of the effort will need to be made by the homeless person in question. The community and our society can also do our part to help them out.
The easiest way is to offer the homeless jobs and low income housing faculties. Communities can build shelters and public bathrooms facilities for people who have no homes. Every neighborhood can set up a small area where the homeless can get warm clothing and other everyday items. (including food) that has been donated by the more fortune. Simple acts of kindness can go a long way for someone who’s spent a good portion of their time struggling to survive.
Instead of the state punishing the people, it should try to understand and empathize with their suffering. Setting up free counseling sessions and state lead rehab centers for those that are so far gone into drug abuse can also work wonders for those homeless folk that are just looking for a way out. Society is built on mutual support and understanding, if only people accepted that these are also human beings in need of help, it can minimize the problem.
At the end of the day, homelessness should not be looked at as a crime, but in fact as a disease. Only then will we be able to cure it from our society and make it whole again.
Now take a few minutes and leave a comment about this post. If you are homeless express your opinion on “Is Homelessness illegal”. If you are not homeless feel free to comment on one of the questions I ask in this blog post. Look forward reading and responding to the comments left here.Also connect with me on one or all of my social media platforms. Weather this is your first time on the Overcoming Homelessness – Choices, Actions, Results blog. I welcome you. This is the first place I will place information that help the homeless.