Should homelessness be criminalized?

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  1. Rod Rainey profile image76
    Rod Raineyposted 9 years ago

    Should homelessness be criminalized?

    Last week Columbia, South Carolina joined Miami and Tampa, Florida in officially criminalizing homelessness. Over the weekend Raleigh, NC police stopped a church group called "Love Wins" from feeding the hungry, a service they have been faithfully committed to for six years.  Yesterday, homeless camps in Fresno, California were evicted and destroyed.  There are similar stories from all over the country.
    So what do you think; should homelessness be criminalized? Why or why not?


  2. gmwilliams profile image85
    gmwilliamsposted 9 years ago

    Many people are homeless through no fault of their own.  They are often homeless due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond their control.  Most of us are paychecks away from homelessness.  No homelessness SHOULD NEVER be criminalized.  What is wrong with governments that criminalize homelessness? Are such governments unfeeling about the predictament of the least among us.  This action is indeed ruthlessness of the highest order.  The homeless should be helped, not demonized.

    1. johnsonrallen profile image90
      johnsonrallenposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well said, I agree 100%

    2. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Indeed, Thank You.

    3. duffsmom profile image61
      duffsmomposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly, well dais gmwilliams.

  3. janshares profile image96
    jansharesposted 9 years ago

    Is this for real? Unbelievable. Of course it should not be criminalized. What is the actual crime? How can you charge someone for being mentally ill, unable to focus enough to hold a job, or being hungry? What, again, is the actual charge? OMG.

    1. ChrisWatkins profile image60
      ChrisWatkinsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Generally they charge them with "loitering."

    2. Ericdierker profile image49
      Ericdierkerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well: Health issues often call for police intervention. Trespassing is an issue. Illegal panhandling. Public nuisance and blocking a public thorough fare are all criminal to an extent. Spitting on the sidewalk. Urinating in public. Are used.

    3. cat on a soapbox profile image95
      cat on a soapboxposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Anyone who thinks it should be criminalized needs to spend a few days in the shoes of a homeless person.

    4. profile image52
      jayprakashbarikposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      to : Cat on a soapbox : Your comment is the best comment to realize the fact .

  4. Ericdierker profile image49
    Ericdierkerposted 9 years ago

    Have you ever slept under the stars? Have you ever shared heated up food out of a tin can? Have you ever been schizophrenic and seen Christ in a bush? Have you ever snuggled 3 across on and under cardboard during rain? Have you ever eaten down at the church on monday and thursday? Have you ever stood for 3 hours at the VA waiting for your check? Have you ever been rousted by a cop for your relief out of a paper sack? Have you ever said "I cannot stand the roof at the shelter"?

    We are not like you but we get by. We try to be good, but often it is hard. We had children but they got took away. We forget to take our medications. Sometimes we have to poop outside. We have watched our friends die of exposure. Most of us now live in "safe zones" and canyons. We wash in your runoff water and we eat your garbage.

    We are not like you. We are black and white and red and yellow we are not like you.We like to read in public libraries but they chase us out. We get our money and try to buy some groceries but we smell funny and the manager kicks us out.

    We are illegal immigrants, and drunks and depressives and also normal folk with bad times getting worse.

    Oh God we do pray you make us illegal. Please God make it illegal for us to be outcasts and hated. Make it illegal for us to live like this.

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well said Ericdieker. Evey life is of value, no matter their circumstance.  Some homeless people have great souls. If not, they would have killed themselves off long ago; instead, they keep surviving...

    2. Ericdierker profile image49
      Ericdierkerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      There is beauty in those that struggle. We should see it. It is inspiring.

    3. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Great answer as always Eric. I think I questioned when I should have forumed again. I'm anxious to read the homeless hub you posted yesterday when I get time. Thank You Sir!

    4. Ericdierker profile image49
      Ericdierkerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      We are all just doing our best. Thank you for the nice words.

  5. dashingscorpio profile image84
    dashingscorpioposted 9 years ago

    "We're not homeless! We're Urban Campers!" LOL!
    Seriously it makes not sense to make poverty a crime! Many homeless people have mental illness or drug addiction problems. They either have no family/friends to take them in or they have abused those relationships to such an extent that they would not deal with them any longer. Their only other option is being institutionalized in mental wards or prisons. Most would rather live on the streets.
    I do understand that no neighborhood or downtown area wants their property values to drop due the heavy pan handling, urine/feces smell that often accompanies areas with a large homeless population.
    However I don't see why churches or not for profit organizations can't continue to "feed the hungry" and "clothe the naked". If the government is looking to slash "entitlement programs" it should applaud these organizations for stepping in.

  6. lburmaster profile image74
    lburmasterposted 9 years ago

    No. They have no reason to be criminalized. Honestly, I'm really shocked and sad that we aren't being more friendly. Here in Houston, you have to have a kitchen that has passed certain rules and regulations to feed the homeless. But actually criminalizing being homeless? What are the homeless supposed to do?

    1. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Could it be for more cheap labor? … avery/8289 Thank You for participating!

    2. lburmaster profile image74
      lburmasterposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Living in Texas, we know plenty about cheap labor. The cotton grown by Huntsville inmates are sold in Europe and are quite popular. At the prison museum, they sell little trinkets they make as well. That is a possibility.

  7. ChrisWatkins profile image60
    ChrisWatkinsposted 9 years ago

    As a Columbia, South Carolina resident, i find this interesting.  I do not very often see homeless people in the area.  However, I do live on the wealthier side of the city.  Personally, i do not believe that the homeless should be prosecuted.  I have been homeless before.  Be it only for a couple of days, but homeless.  I do not feel it is acceptable to hold people responsible for unexpected events that may have been out of their control.  I can, however, see the other side of the debate.  When I was homeless, I got off my butt and did something about it, even though I lacked the resources at the time to do so.  I still managed to change my situation.  For that reason, I can understand prosecuting those who just will not do anything to better their situation.  For example, instead of sleeping on the bench in the park, go to the local shelter, get a shower and some clean clothes, and go apply for jobs!

    1. profile image0
      christiananrkistposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      When you were homelss for a couple of days, did you talk to anyone about their situation? I have talked to many in my youth and can tell you many of them have been trying for years to get on their feet. I'm glad things worked out for you so easily.

  8. profile image0
    christiananrkistposted 9 years ago

    This is sickening. How many people are choosing this life? On what grounds should this be criminalized? So people who have fell on hard times are sent to jail with others who have committed actual crimes? What is this country becoming? George Washington was right when he said "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

  9. Rod Rainey profile image76
    Rod Raineyposted 9 years ago

    I read somewhere that there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the US and 3.5 million homeless, 200,000 of which are veterans.  This is indeed a crime, but is starving its victims and throwing them in jail the answer? Come on!  Jails and prisons are schools for criminals!  Do we really want to turn the homeless into criminals and then release them some day into a society which failed them before and then threw them in the clink? Deep down we all know that the death penalty is in order here! Death to the dog eat dog, every man for himself rat race which has never worked and will never work for everyone!  Death to the notion that more material, more than what we need will somehow make us happier, will somehow fill the void left when our species decided to disconnect itself from each other and everything else.  Death to the concept that some people matter less than others!  Death to the allegory that the establishment is fine and the people are flawed!  The homeless are victims of ideas many of us adhere to and perpetuate daily.  The homeless expose cracks in the system and the truth hurts so we lock victims away, out of sight out of mind and back to business as usual.  Shame!

    1. BuffaloGal1960 profile image69
      BuffaloGal1960posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      That is exactly what I was going to answer.  Veterans make up a large portion of homeless people. THAT is the crime.

    2. Ericdierker profile image49
      Ericdierkerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      You two might like to know that the Veterans on the street. Do much better health wise. Many many that I have known just want not to be a part of our society, of following the "orders" to be normal. Violence is not higher among them. PTSD and Bi-Pola

  10. TJenkins602 profile image60
    TJenkins602posted 9 years ago

    Criminalize homelessness? I myself am homeless because of an inability to get a job due to slander. Those people get a free pass, but this crap???

    I swear, people are scavengers.

  11. profile image60
    DJ Andersonposted 9 years ago

    Oh, Rodney, I do hope this information is incorrect.  It is hard to imagine that in some cases, the laws that made families homeless are now imprisoning those same people.
    One of my neighbors had a foreclosure on her home.  She was fearful that the bank would put a padlock on the door, so she moved to a tiny house with her two young children.  Her foreclosed house has remained empty for nine months.  We have never seen anyone over there.  There is no padlock on her door.  Why couldn't they have let her stay until they had a court issued statement for them to have moved.
    We cut her grass to keep it looking like some one lives there.
    She was such a good person, and yet, she is a paycheck away from being on the streets.
    There are so many wrongs in this country that I feel ashamed of the actions of our leaders.  It is like common sense has taken a leave of absence.
    I feel that churches should reach out to persons/families in trouble.  They should
    minister to the masses who have lost all hope.

    Rodney, this was a compelling question.  I wish the answer was simple.  There
    will always be homeless people, families thrown out of their homes, and more injustices done to people.  You received some really good remarks from the HP crowd.
    I ask that each person reach out to someone troubled.  Touch a life in need.
    A cheeseburger and soda can go a long way if one is hungry.
    And, a kind smile has a lot of mileage in it.

    1. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It's always a pleasure DJ! Are you still in Lou. KY for the summer? Hate to hear about your neighbors. No proponents of criminalizing them yet on this thread. And yes, it's going to take us all reaching out somehow. Thank You for participating!

    2. profile image60
      DJ Andersonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, still in Lou. for the summer. SW FL. has had a very hot summer.  Don't
      want to return down there until it cools down, some, and we like to wait until hurricane season is over.
      Rodney, have you been posting on HP?  I am not getting any hubs fr. u

    3. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well they're calling for a high of 94 today neighbor, but no hurricanes. I haven't been able to find the time or inspiration to write lately. (heavy sigh) I do plan to continue, just hit a rough patch. Please bear with me.

  12. BuffaloGal1960 profile image69
    BuffaloGal1960posted 9 years ago

    I have to say I am skeptical or I just outright do not want to believe the information you have provided. I really have no reason to doubt  your information, in other words, I just don't want to believe it!!  That being said, as one other commented, Veterans are a large portion of our homeless. To criminalize poverty in any form is absurd at best. Homelessness if poverty.

    I'm disappointed in NC. I lived there several years and I just find it hard to fathom that so many people would fall prey to corrupt political agenda. This is an outcry. Perhaps next, we will arrest people for being a nurse, or being a policeman, or being too old, or being too young. 

    I WILL be writing articles to address this issue.  I have already written some on poverty in the Native American communities.  I mean, I am upset about this and I will not be silent.

    1. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't want to believe it either.  I've written some about Native Americans too. I'll have to check out your profile. Thank You!

  13. isaiahkimgoodwin profile image60
    isaiahkimgoodwinposted 9 years ago

    I think this is an outrage.  There are no jobs in some many areas.  This is America, and people should be free to feed homeless or live homeless.  I think there needs to be more homeless shelters in all areas to help people that are.  Some people choose to be, but many do not.

  14. Borsia profile image39
    Borsiaposted 9 years ago

    Of course every coin has 2 sides. They aren't out to get the homeless but rather fighting crime that comes with homeless enclaves. Everywhere homeless start showing up in large numbers crime goes up and business goes down.
    It is just a sad fact of life that cities are trying to deal with.
    Vagrancy laws have existed on the books of pretty much every town, city, county and state for hundreds of years. They haven't been enforced much in recent history.
    The question is what to do?
    If you are a business owner how will your business be affected if your would be customers have to wade through a group of homeless camped on the sidewalk in front of your door?
    If you are a homeowner and you suddenly have to lock down everything from the garden hose to the trashcans and you have to fear walking down your own street, let alone for safety of your children and even pets?
    Its somehow nice to think that every homeless person is just like you or me and just down on their luck. While that is true of many it is also a Pollyanna view of a harsh reality that many of them are mentally unbalanced, unstable and even downright dangerous.
    Do you want this element in your neighborhood?
    But what are these lost souls to do? Where are they to go?
    With the failing economy their numbers are growing as people loose their jobs, their savings and eventually their homes.
    At the same time America enter pointless wars at the bidding of corrupt profiteers and more troops, once proud warriors or unfortunate draftees return broken. They are no longer able to function normally in society but the military machine that produced them no longer wants to deal with them.
    If there is an answer I don't have it. It would seem that nobody else has it either.
    So the local governments pass new laws and enforce old ones to try and push the homeless masses off on someone else.
    In 2012 the US gave $50 Billion dollars in foreign aid to other countries.
    How much did we spend to help our own homeless?
    In 2012 the president asked for less than $2.4 Billion.

    1. Rod Rainey profile image76
      Rod Raineyposted 9 years agoin reply to this
    2. Ericdierker profile image49
      Ericdierkerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      There is an answer. It is plain and simple. If we invaded streets with 100 thousand medics, just like the military's we would solve the problem. It is battleground conditions. Army medics are trained in such. They can even deal with psych.

  15. ParadigmEnacted profile image69
    ParadigmEnactedposted 9 years ago

    Yes, criminalize it. Federal and local governments have an obligation to provide some kind of housing to everybody that is unable to maintain these things for themselves. No exceptions. Not to do so is a crime against humanity and an abomination to the Earth. Nobody is to be without these things in a plentiful and civilized world.

  16. Express10 profile image85
    Express10posted 9 years ago

    No it shouldn't be because many people don't want to be homeless but become so either through their own actions, in-actions, a combination of these things, or through absolutely no fault of their own. In addition, many cities actually have criminalized those who attempt helping the homeless and hungry by handing out free meals, clothing, etc. in an effort to keep the homeless out of sight and supposedly out of mind.

  17. Darrell Roberts profile image73
    Darrell Robertsposted 9 years ago

    Wow, I am shocked and amazed that such events would occur in this great and "enlightened" nation.  I wonder what the founding fathers would think. 

    With so many empty houses of worship, and empty houses in the country I am surprised that we cannot solve the problem of homelessness.  Human compassion is on the decline if this is the path that we are taking as a society. 

    In a properly educated and organized society there really should be no one in want of any of the basic needs.

    1. Borsia profile image39
      Borsiaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Many of the homeless have mental problems and won't come off the streets on their own, government can no longer force them to come.
      Sadly this is true of many veterans suffer PTSD and paranoia is common.
      But we should be helping our own in the US.

  18. Rosana Modugno profile image74
    Rosana Modugnoposted 9 years ago

    Criminalizing homelessness would be a mistake simply because there is no room in the jails and it would put more of a burden on tax payers.

    I think they should use all these government buildings that are sitting there empty that again, tax payers are paying for and house these people.  It's not all their fault.  Sometimes it is but other times it's not.

    Tampa?  I live 10 minutes away and I can tell you that the homeless here are everywhere, sleeping in parks, under trees, by road sides, in bushes, etc.  They made it illegal to pan handle, so you'll rarely see them try. 

    A lot of them, called "marchmen" are mentally insane but have no resources for them here.  The sane ones who lost jobs or were arrested, can't get hired or live anywhere because complexes won't give you an apt if you have a felony on your record, and jobs won't hire you either.  So where are they supposed to live and how do they eat?  No one wants to give you a chance, and then they get mad because people have no where to go.

    There are others who just refuse the homeless shelters because they are dangerous, over crowded, people steal your personal items, like shoes, etc.  And you're bunked up with crazy felons.

    The city even provides homeless here with those black carriers with wheels you see people in airports lugging around, so they won't look homeless to tourists.  You think they are traveling somewhere.  lol 

    It's ridiculous they are trying to criminalize this when it's the cities fault for not working harder to find places for them to live and places to work. It's a joke.

    You have to ask yourself, who is profiting from criminalizing homelessness?  And there's your answer.

  19. profile image0
    KenDeanAgudoposted 9 years ago

    No, it's not there fault anyway,it may be cause by the laziness of there parents or by the irresponsible government. They are just refugee who seek for embower, and you will truly understand them when you already experience there life,

    1. Ericdierker profile image49
      Ericdierkerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      You are welcome to come stay with me anytime. We will go and try to understand their life. Namaste

  20. profile image56
    Newwriter0109posted 9 years ago

    I have been homeless and it sucks. Criminalizing homeless may just be one more move, in a trend, to continue feeding the prison and jail industry. How much taxes do  we pay to house non-violent low level offenders? Look it up. Last week it was reported that it is an average of 33k us dollars per inmate!! You pay that-your taxes. So, should we allow good Samaritans to help the homeless with a few free meals and some blankets, or pay the industry.We spend more on prisons than education in this country. What's next? Prison or jail for a speeding ticket? Jaywalking? Painting you house the wrong color?


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