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.
The set of circumstances that could make you homeless can cause your life to change in an instant. The circumstances do not care if you have worked all your life.
They do not care if you always paid your bills on time,or have a good job with health coverage. Nor will they care if you never broke the law or went on welfare.
Homelessness can happen to almost anyone.
Is this what we want?
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?
See for yourself
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.
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,
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.
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.
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?