Should Homelessness Be Criminalized?

1013 words 5 pages
Did you know that Applied Survey Research counted a total of 4,539 homeless people last year in Sonoma County alone? I can vouch for the authenticity and methods used in this survey because I assisted as a counter. I am passionate about the social issue of homelessness, mainly because I was part of this population a decade ago. Applied Survey Research defines homelessness in part as, “An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence…” The sad fact is that there are not enough resources to adequately shelter America’s most vulnerable citizens. Many cities have passed ordinances that have criminalized homelessness. These so called quality of life ordinances are meant to protect the society at large. Homeless people …show more content…

They told her to move along. They also told her that if she didn’t move fast enough, they would move her. She managed to get back in her wheelchair but still received a ticket for loitering. I find it disturbing that homeless people are considered loitering while other people in the park enjoy leisure activities, sometimes for hours. There were many other people in the park yet she was singled out; this is a prime example of selective enforcement. Her lawyer argued that the ordinance was vague and did in fact encourage discriminatory enforcement. Not only was the case dropped but the city rescinded the ordinance. Those in favor of these ordinances are acting out of fear. The City of Denver is pushing for a law that will forbid overnight stays on their main street. I came across an article in the Denver Post that gives validity to my point that these ordinances are fear based. In the article Denver City Council member Charlie Brown said “We have to stand up for our businesses downtown and our women and children who are afraid to go downtown…” Another council member, Albus Brooks admits that “Homeless people stay overnight…because they can't find beds in shelters.” As I mentioned this is the crux of the homeless issue. Brooks goes on to say “I am compassionate, but I also understand that sometimes people need to be dealt with.” If the City of Denver really