Essay on Should Homelessness Be Criminalized?

1007 Words5 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…
The National Coalition for the Homeless comprised a list of “The Meanest Cities”. Sarasota, Florida is number one on the list. Florida state courts overturned two previous anti-lodging laws, but the third one passed. The current ordinance directly targets homeless people as grounds for arrest include persons that have no other place to live. In addition to the possibility of being arrested for camping, the seizure of personal property is another issue. My personal property was usually stolen by another homeless person. If it wasn’t stolen, it was seized by police. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty provides an example of property seizure by stating the case of Ashcraft vs. City of Covington No. 02-124-JGW. The 2003 case involves a police raid where five homeless people had their possessions seized while camping. The fourteenth amendment says in part that no person should be deprived of their property without due process. When the case was settled, the plaintiffs were each awarded $1,000 as compensation for their destroyed property. Other ordinances that really upset me are the ones that prohibit loitering. Loitering is defined as hanging around an area for no apparent reason. I was harassed several times for loitering while homeless. Being forced to move along adds to the exhaustion homeless people already deal with. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty gives another example, this one pertains to

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