Demonizing the Homeless

It is Criminal

In my opinion it is criminal what an increasing number of cities in America are doing.

Some cities are introducing laws and ordinances that will in effect make it a crime to be homeless.

Do people in these cities think that the ordinances will make things better for anyone?

For the vast majority of people who find themselves homeless this is NOT a life-choice?

Most people who find themselves homeless have have not chosen to do so. Homelessness is often a situation that a set of circumstances have put them in.

These circumstances are often outside of their control. Many things in life can bring about circumstances that could result in homelessness.

Is this what we want?

Is this what we want to do to the homeless?
Is this what we want to do to the homeless? | Source

Laws and Ordinances

Many cities are passing laws and ordinances that outlaw certain activities.

These activities are usually activities that affect the poor and the homeless. The ordinances targeting particular behaviour. The targets are the behaviour that offends the sensibilities of the well off.

For example ordinances that outlaw sleeping, sitting, and even eating in public areas.

These ordinances are clearly aimed at the poor and the homeless. They designed them to keep such people out of the nicer areas of town.

Why? Because their presence spoils the aesthetics of that part of the city.

It is Unbelievable

You don't believe me? Well I don't blame you it is unbelievable that people would do that to other people.

Well Google cities like Raleigh, Ft. Lauderdale, Columbia, Harrisburg and homelessness and see what you can find.

These cities above are just a few of the increasing number of cities that are passing such ordinances.

Ordinances that end up criminalizing the poor and the homeless in their communities.

See what this young man from Ft Lauderdale thinks of this in the video below.

Ft. Lauderdale Decided To Criminalize Homelessness

Do we really want to turn the homeless into criminals by bringing in Draconian measures?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don't know
  • I don't care one way or the other
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See for yourself

If you don't want to bother to do the search yourself here are a couple of links.

http://dld.bz/du2Dg

http://dld.bz/du2FY

The two links will take you to articles related to this topic. where you can read about this subject in more depth than this Hub covers.

A False Sense of Security

Most ordinary working people in this world think that they are secure and will stay that way.

Hopefully for many this will be true and they will go through life feeling secure.

Though they may not have realised it some were only a few steps away from homelessness themselves.

We may base our sense of security on our home, our job, our health insurance, possessions etc.

But these things in reality give us a false sense of security.

Foreclosure

One of the results of the recession
One of the results of the recession

The effects of the Recession

You don't believe me? I suggest that you ask some of those people who had all of the above when the recession took hold.

Those people, who because of the recession, lost their jobs, homes, and even health.

It is costly to keep healthy when health cover disappears when the job goes.

Many of these were hard working people who had worked hard all their lives. They had not been a drain on the system, they had been the system.

Only to find out when they fell foul of a recession, that the effects were devastating.

It was a recession that many did not play any part in causing,

The payback

What kind of payback did they receive from the society that they were so much a part of?

A society that they had put their lives into, well it wasn't the help they deserved or needed. No help here for you now, just ordinances.

Ordinances that will do nothing to help them in their time of trouble and need.

Instead of the help they needed they got ordinances. Ordinances that added to their troubles and could turn them into criminals.

The big let down

Real people are being and have been let down. Let down by the same Governments and communities that they were once a vital and contributing part of.

Instead it was the leeches and takers of this world that got the help and in return they demonized the victims.

Unbelievable as it is, they have not treated as criminals those who caused of so much devastation.

Even though it was their criminal mishandling of other peoples money is the cause.

To the contrary, many of those have kept all their ill gotten gains.

Many of the big movers and shakers in the financial world kept their jobs. They kept their health cover, and they continued to pay themselves big bonuses.

If by any chance they did lose their jobs, they did not lose everything.

Instead they gave them a golden handshake and often a pension. A pension that itself would seem to most to be a reward.

Consequences?

Are there any consequences for those who caused the recession?

I do not know of one of those who were to blame for causing the recession, being even charged with a crime.

So no I don't believe there are consequence for those people.

We believed the lie that they fed us at the time that they were too big to allow to fail. The reality is that they did fail.

They even misused the money that they should have used to help out the victims of their failure.

But instead they used this money to line their already well lined pockets.

Punishments and Rewards

Has society gone mad? Why are we rewarding the criminals and punishing the victims? What sort of sense does that make?

What kind of message does that give to the next generation? Is it the sort of message that we want or even should send?

What kind of future do you want for yourself and for your children?

It is not as though criminalising the homeless solves anything.

Nor does it make any sort of financial sense because it costs so much to put a homeless person in jail.

Jailing the homeless, does nothing to address the cause of their homelessness.

The money would be much better spent attacking the cause of homelessness.

Draconian Measures

These draconian measures that so many cities are enacting do not work.

I know that Draconian may not be a word that you are familiar with. But I am using this word because it describes so well what I think most of these ordinances are.

Draconian means something that is not just harsh and severe but excessively so.

If something is Draconian, it is brutal, oppressive, ruthless, cruel, punitive and extreme.

It is Iron fisted despots and tyrants that use Draconian tactics.

Such tactics are immoral and lack compassion. Such tactics should have no place in any society that considers itself civilized.

Draconian Measures Don't work

An increasing number of cities are putting measures in place are draconian in nature.

Not only are these measure draconian but to add insult to injury, they don't even work.

The measures do nothing to solve the underlying causes of the behaviours that they want to remove.

In fact, the measures are counter productive and are extremely costly to to use.

They do not solve the problems by using these draconian measures. Nor do they save the city money.

Instead the measures cost the city a lot more money which could be much better spent.

How do the measures cost so much?

How do the measures cost so much I hear you asking.

Well what happens when you arrest a homeless person after they break an ordinance?

They take the homeless person to court, where they prosecute them, and then send them to jail.

Who pays for all the lawyers and the courts costs?

After the sentencing they take the homeless person to jail. The cost of their incarceration, would take quite a bit of calculating.

Most of the homeless were already living in unsuitable and inadequate circumstances when arrested.

They come into the prison environment with untreated illnesses and medical conditions.

The prison authorities will now have to address these issues, and it all costs money.

The money has to come from somewhere, and it is not going to come from the homeless.

A criminal and still homeless

When they release the homeless person from jail, he is still homeless.

The homeless person still faces all the same problems that got them arrested in the first place.

Society has not offered any help to break the vicious circle of poverty and homelessness.

All that happens and can happen is that they release the homeless person back into society.

Sooner or later will they pick them up and arrested again, and so it goes on.

Each time achieving nothing and costing a fortune that could be much better spent.

Illegal to sleep in your car

In one of Americas richest cities Palo Alto it is illegal to to use your car to sleep in.

Big cities like Palo Alto have squeezed ordinary people out of the housing market.

Even to rent in these big cities is too costly for a lot of ordinary people. We have all seen the TV shows that make over properties, it is all about location, location and location.

Some locations are just too pricey for ordinary people to be able to afford to live there.

If you need to live in one of these areas but cannot afford to what can you do? You can try to find somewhere to live in a nearby area that you can afford.

Of course, it will not be anywhere near the much sought after city centre locations.

But what happens if your job is there in the city? Not one of those fancy high flying and high paying jobs, just an ordinary job, like in a fast food outlet or a shop.

The pay is just about enough to keep your family on, but what about the cost of getting to and from work?

The daily commute to work for many who work in Palo Alto is just not affordable.

So they have come up with a way to stay in town by sleeping in their cars. they haven't started sleeping in their cars because they like doing that.

They are sleeping in their cars so they can keep their jobs and keep supporting their families.

They deserve better

Do these people want to sleep in their cars, I don't think so. Well do they like sleeping in their cars, again I don't think so.

So why are they doing it, I think that is the only way around the problem that they can see.

Given the option and the means to do so, of course they would love to live in the city where they work.

The majority of these people are not spongers, wasters, lazy, or a drain on society.

Rather some of these, are people who up until recently were the same as us.

They were the hard workers, who contributed to life in the community. They were often doing the jobs that make living in those cities so desirable, until they lost their jobs.

This law comes into full effect soon. In Palo Alto, they estimate that there are at least 50 people using their cars as their refuge.

When the law comes into full force, these people will become criminals.

If they break this law they face either a $1000 fine or six months in prison.

They deserve much better than this don't you think?

Try and put Yourself in their Place

Just for a moment try and put yourself in their place. Imagine you are the bread-winner of a family.

Working 50 hours a week for the minimum wage. The money you earn is just about enough if you live in a low rent area to keep your family's head above water.

There is no money left over at the end of the week. Your family lives pay cheque to pay check.

The trouble is the nearest place you can afford to rent is nowhere near where you work. It so far from where you work that you cannot afford the cost of getting to work each day.

You do everything that you can to look after your family, you are proud that you take care of your family. You do not claim welfare and you do not live on handouts.

To keep your job you decide to make the sacrifice to stay during the week close to your job.

The only way that you can afford to do this is by sleeping in your car. It is not what you want to do but it is something that you are prepared to do for the sake of your family.

Then the city passes one of these ordinances that make it illegal to sleep in your car.

They find you one night asleep in your car so they arrest you and take you before a judge.

The judge fines you $1000 which might as well be a million as there is no way that you can find that kind of money.

Unable (not unwilling) to pay they send you to jail for 6 months. With out your money coming in your family can now not even afford to live in the low rent accommodation.

Being unable to pay the rent the landlord evicts your family. Now with no roof over their heads your whole family is homeless.

The city has to pay the cost of your incarceration and now has to deal with even more homeless people.

Who exactly is the winner here. Even the rich that don't like looking at poor people struggling to live will now have even more to look at.

When will people wake up to what is really happening?


Don't let them demonize the poor and homeless

We need to think before we swallow any more of the lies and distortions that the media and others want to feed us.

We must not let them get away with demonizing the poor.

If we do let them get away with it, who knows they may turn around and try to demonize us next.

If they do turn round and demonize us next, will there be anyone left to care?


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14 comments

sheilamyers 2 years ago

I have an idea, but know the government officials would make arguments against it - arguments that really don't make any sense. Anyway ... instead of spending the money for court costs and incarceration of the homeless, they should take that money and build some homeless shelters. I know that's only a temporary solution, but would help many people until they could get back on their feet.


Victoria Baughman profile image

Victoria Baughman 2 years ago from Michigan

This is so very sad! I live in Detroit and a few years ago when the Super Bowl was here the city of Detroit gathered all of the homeless people and put them in groups in a hotel room and fed them for the night. I thought "WOW, what a nice gesture..... you just covered up the fact that these people need help from their community!" I was outraged because the city did this to make themselves look better. It is heart breaking to know that so many are heartless!


cjhunsinger profile image

cjhunsinger 2 years ago

It is extremely difficult to answer your post, as so much of it is convoluted and distorted. Judging from your post it would seem that you are proposing that all rules of civility and decorum be be lowered or done away with to accommodate those who would relieve themselves in our public places. Is it that we must accommodate and lower standards of societal conduct to facilitate the establishment of drug and alcohol picnic areas combined with public nudity and sex, not to mention the filth and other assorted crimes that are inherent within these societies.

The great majority of these people are where they are do to bad life decisions and a desire to continue on such a path. They are experts at working the system to benefit themselves without taking any responsibility to improve their lives.

It would be wrong to stereotype these people into a category of shiftless and irresponsible human beings, but it is equally wrong to identify them as victims.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 2 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I suspect that we are being manipulated toward this type of "us versus them" mentality. The power brokers (very, very rich) don't like the 99% and would just as soon see us all die, except for a few million to keep things working for them.

Notice how "compassion" has become the province of government, rather than the individual. Compassion is legislated and funded by government. Welfare, social security, and more. Government has pampered us into submission. We have lost our will because of the soporific effect of government power and handouts. "Here, take this and go to sleep."

The media has become very adept at Orwellian stealth, changing the meanings of words. War is now "peacekeeping action." Conspiracy is now "a nutty idea." Only the conspirators would promote such an idiotic concept to keep people from looking into dark corners.

Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones filmed FEMA coffins being assembled for mass deaths at some time in the future. They filmed incarceration camps constructed with playgrounds for the children. When the time is ripe, we will become cattle, led to the slaughter.

And 9/11 was an inside job blamed on Muslims so that America could invade Iraq and Afghanistan for geopolitical and monetary reasons. It also allowed them to erode the Constitution at an accelerated pace, making the laws against the homeless of which you write seem more "reasonable."

And since the same people who profit off of war own the movie industry, you will notice that the movies and TV programs of the last 20 years or so have become increasingly tolerant of abuse of power. Take "24," for instance, with Jack Bauer abusing the rights of people by blowing off their kneecaps to get them to talk. Forget about habeas corpus. Obama did. So did Bush.

We have corrupt government scientists trying to convince the world that solid steel could ever offer zero resistance in their report on the 3rd building to collapse on 9/11 -- the one not hit by a plane. The first 8 floors of collapse were at perfect free fall. Any high school physics student would know something is fishy about that scenario. Solid steel never offers zero resistance, except in cartoons and government reports.

And Bush laughs at his fancy parties about how there were no WMDs to be found, while our troops continue to die, and America becomes the new Evil Empire.

For 10 years after 9/11, I was so naïve. I believed the official conspiracy theory. Now, articles like yours bring home the real story -- the bigger story that we are rapidly approaching a critical mass of ego -- the source of all evil.

We can avoid mountains of suffering if we give up ego altogether. Give up self-concern in all its shades of meaning. Take on the compassion of Christ when he said that we need to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we also need to love our enemies, too. Turning the other cheek makes sense when you see the love behind it.

When we take the homeless into our homes, we help spread a little love around. If we do it without any feeling of self-congratulation or pride, then we start to heal the world.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you sheilamyer  for your comment, like you I wish they would spend more time and effort in seeking out solutions to the problem of homelessness, rather than increasing measures to punish people who are homeless.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

I am with you Victoria Baughman It is heartbreaking that people can be so heartless when it comes to the treatment of the poor and vulnerable in society. We seem to have stopped seeing the poor and the homeless as people, and view them only as a troublesome and unsightly problem. As you say so very sad.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on this hub cjhunsinger and I am sorry that you found it convoluted and distorted. Still as convoluted and distorted as you seem to have found it, I am really surprised that you managed to reach the conclusion that I was proposing to do away with all rules of civility and decorum, and to lower standards of societal conduct. I cannot see how you thought that I was advocating turning public places into public toilets. Or why you thought that I wanted to establish picnic areas where public sex, nudity, crime and filth were desired.

I certainly did not write this hub with any of those intentions in mind, and as I said I am surprised that that is what you got from what I have written. I admit there are some people who actually choose this kind of lifestyle for themselves, but I would like to know where you have found the evidence that supports your statement that it is the vast majority of the homeless who have chosen and desire to live like this.

To say the the vast majority of the homeless are irresponsible and are experts at working the system to improve their lives is a bit of a sweeping statement. I believe that I did not say that all are victims, I know that there are many people who choose an alternate lifestyle to the norm, but unlike you, I do not think that it is the vast majority of them.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

I think that you are right lone77star we are being manipulated into an us and them mentality.

Thank you for taking the time to write this comment, it seems a shame to waste it as a comment on a hub, that will in all likelihood, not receive many more views.

I think that you have the making of an interesting hub in this comment, and if you decide to do that, I will delete your comment so that you can use what you have written in a hub.

I love your conclusion

"We can avoid mountains of suffering if we give up ego altogether. Give up self-concern in all its shades of meaning. Take on the compassion of Christ when he said that we need to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we also need to love our enemies, too. Turning the other cheek makes sense when you see the love behind it."


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I've lived in homeless shelters, and I can tell you some persons absolutely do choose to be homeless. Oh some might call it mental illness, and some truly are mentally ill, but some absolutely want nothing to do with our society because they can see straight through all the crap our culture entails.

Others you'll meet in homeless shelters....you'll have no clue how such persons could even be there, as they truly just had a string of hard luck while having tried to "play the corporate American game."


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you Wesman Todd Shaw, for your your insight into the homeless shelters and the homeless. As you rightly say there are some who actively pursue this way of life because they want nothing to do with the greed and manipulation that they see going on around them in our societies. Others find themeselve there against their will, and sometimes through no fault of their own.

I hope that we don't end up with an even more divided society, with an us and them mentality. Having actually experienced living in a homeless shelter, your insights are very welcome. Thank you for sharing them with us.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 23 months ago from England

I was getting more and more disgusted as I read this maggs, what the hell is the world coming too? as for not sleeping in the car, well they could go jump if it was me! perhaps if they got people of the streets and into accommodation that would help, but that would be too much trouble for them wouldn't it? thanks for sharing this, it certainly opens our eyes to the injustice and display of complete uncaring, nell


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 23 months ago from Sunny Spain Author

Sadly Nell you are right, there is an increase in lack of compassion and empathy that is seeping down from the I'm alright Jack brigade. This world is increasingly being run solely for the benefit of the 1% and its leeches.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 months ago from Minnesota

Things in our country have gotten so bad. This story really shows us all that America is lost. I am sad, disgusted and angry reading this story. Thanks for sharing.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 months ago from Sunny Spain Author

It is not just your country Linda where this sort of thing is happening, it is happening all over the world. In Britain we have people who are working full time but are still not earning enough to feed their family. More and more people are having to rely on charity and church based food banks to get by.

Thankfully the majority of people in your country are still like you and your sister. They like you, are kind generous compassionate people, unfortunately they are not usually the ones that are in control.

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