Have you ever been driving around and noticed people sleeping under a bridge? Or perhaps, you’ve seen tents in parks and wondered what is in the tent or who might be living in it.
There are more than 568,000 homeless people across the world. While some people don’t exactly know how homelessness occurs, many people find themselves homeless as a result of things like not having a job or enough money to support themselves financially.
While you might not see an issue with the homeless except that they’re homeless, not everyone shares your sentiment. There are some places where homelessness has now been declared illegal.
Is homelessness illegal, you may be wondering, or are we pulling your leg? Read on, because what we’re about to share with you might clear up some of your confusion.
How Do People Become Homeless?
It’s challenging to answer this question because not everyone has the same story. Before you can truly understand why cities would make homelessness illegal and how they’re doing so, it’s crucial to understand the reasons that a person might become homeless.
The first reason is because of the loss of a job. Without being able to hold a job, you’re not able to pay your bills and other things needed to keep a roof over your head. And when you’re homeless and in need of a job you’ve got to have an address to receive your payments and other work-related documents.
Another reason that people fall victim to homelessness is having a job but not making enough money. This reason is commonly seen in low-income areas, which leaves people that live there to pick and choose what they use their pay towards at that time.
Are they going to pay the light bill this month and get behind on rent? Or are they going to purchase groceries for the house and work something out with the utility companies?
Over time, the situations that some people find themselves in, become too overwhelming, and they’re no longer able to keep their heads above water. In the blink of an eye, these people find themselves and their loved ones on the streets.
How is Homelessness Illegal?
Back to the reason that we’re all reading this post, and that’s to figure out is homelessness illegal? If you open a book according to the law in some states, you’re not going to find anything that specifically states that homelessness is unlawful, but you’re going to find that tons of other things have been made illegal.
Various cities have passed laws that make sleeping outside or lying down outside illegal, bringing the increase in newly passed statues like this to 63%. Meaning that if a homeless person is sleeping on a park bench, all someone has to do is call the authorities, and they will be removed because this is now illegal.
Have you ever seen a homeless person sitting in one spot for hours day after day? This is referred to as loafing, and in many states, you will find laws that prohibit loafing from taking place.
This may be the reason that you see homeless people moving from place to place. It’s to avoid having any type of criminal action taken against them. Have you noticed that most food corporations now have locks on their dumpsters?
The reason for this is because it’s been made illegal for people to have unlimited access to free food. Even if that free food is being thrown away or being destroyed. Again while there is no law set in stone that states homelessness is illegal many cities have found ways to make every action taken by someone that is homeless ensuring their survival is illegal.
What Are Tent Cities?
Tent cities are exactly what they sound like; it’s where a mass amount of homeless people set up their tents for the night in an area and sleep there. While this may seem harmless to those that are in the same area as the tent city, it’s not harmless to everyone.
Tent cities are beginning to face stricter regulations and be wiped out completely depending on the city that they are in. There are places all over the world where tent cities have begun to make an appearance, and it’s caused so much of a stir that some places have declared homelessness a national emergency.
In Seattle, to begin combating and taking control of the homeless crisis, they’ve established grounds that are sanctioned specifically for these tent cities. Every 90 days, the inhabitants of these tent cities must pack up and relocate to a newly designated area.
If you check online with local shelters that are in the area, you will commonly see that they ask for donations, including blankets or jackets that are to be handed out to those currently residing in these tent cities. Some of these shelters even request donations to help provide trash services or funding for a bus ticket to put those that are homeless in better situations.
Myths About Homelessness Debunked
When it comes to homelessness, there are quite a few myths or things that you’ve heard that aren’t entirely true. The first myth is that people who are homeless are lazy people and don’t want to work. 250,000 homeless people have some type of mental illness.
For those that know someone close to you with a mental health issue, you understand that it can be incredibly challenging for them to function on a daily basis, much less hold down a steady job.
If you’re not convinced, check out the story of former NBA star Delonte West. Once at the height of his basketball career he now finds himself broke and homeless, struggling with mental issues. Another thing to understand is that some people that aren’t able to work aren’t able to do so because they have retired or are suffering from some other type of disability.
This makes it challenging for them to do any job without accommodations. One myth that you might hear time and time again is that homeless people choose to be homeless. There are very few cases where someone ‘chose’ to be homeless. Would you want to spend the winter sleeping outside?
Do you want to explain to your children why you’ve got nothing to eat yet again?
Knowing all of these things, however, means nothing if you don’t take the resources available and lend a helping hand to those that are homeless and struggling.
How Can We Help?
The first way that you can lend a helping hand to those that are currently homeless is by donating to organizations located in your area. These donations will help to get them the things that they need right now. Like can openers to open food, blankets to keep them warm, or extra space in a shelter for the night.
You can also help to spread awareness about the homeless crisis that is sweeping the nation. When people aren’t informed about a situation, they might turn to fear instead of finding ways to make the situation better.
If you’re someone that owns a business of some type, you could help by creating jobs for people that are in need of it. Giving someone a chance to do better can be the motivation they need to move forward with getting their lives back on track.
It only takes one person to spark motivation in others to get up and do something to help someone else. It also helps to check out available resources.
Is Homelessness Illegal: More Than Meets the Eye
We think you’ve found the answer to is homelessness illegal and many other questions that you might have had. Although there are laws that make specific things illegal, this doesn’t mean that homelessness can’t be solved.
There are ways that you can lend a helping hand to those that are struggling in your community today. If you want to help do something about homelessness, contact Overcoming Homelessness. We have a voice, and now we want to help you find yours and join the fight to end homelessness for all people worldwide.