Should we make homelessness against the law and simply throw all homeless people into prison so that we don’t have to deal with them? Incredibly, this is actually starting to happen in dozens of major cities all across the United States. It may be difficult to believe, but in many large urban areas today, if you are found guilty of “public camping” you can be taken directly to jail. In some cities, activities such as “blocking a walkway” or creating any sort of “temporary structure for human habitation” are also considered to be serious crimes. And there are some communities that have even made it illegal to feed the homeless without an official permit. Unfortunately, as the U.S. economy continues to slow down the number of homeless people will continue to grow, and so this is a crisis that is only going to grow in size and scope.
Of course the goal of many of these laws is to get the homeless to go somewhere else. But as these laws start to multiply all across the nation, pretty soon there won’t be too many places left where it is actually legal to be homeless.
On Thursday, the Houston Police Department targeted a group of homeless advocates who were attempting to hand out hot food and gifts to the homeless.
H/t reader kevin a.
* * *
The United States, despite often advertising itself as the world’s “most developed” nation, has a major problem with homelessness, with approximately 3.5 million currently living with no place to call home. Even though vacant houses outnumber the nation’s homeless by more than five to one, most of them end up sleeping in public places or out in the street. In cities around the country, the homeless are frequently criminalized as are those who offer them food and other forms of human kindness. Despite the widespread maltreatment of the homeless, judges in San Francisco have been dismissing thousands upon thousands of arrest warrants targeting the homeless because “it was the right thing to do.”
When the city of Los Angeles refused to address an epidemic of homelessness — seen in sprawling and dangerous tent cities — a struggling musician answered the call and built dozens of solar-powered tiny houses to give those down on their luck a place to call home.
Elvis Summers crowdfunded tiny homes in part through his nonprofit, Starting Human, and raised over $100,000 for what he viewed as a decent, if temporary, solution. And with the help of volunteers in the contracting and construction business, built some 40 tiny homes of wood with steel-reinforced, locking doors to provide solid shelter for struggling tent-city residents.
If you want to be a “Good Samaritan” to the homeless in your community, you might want to check and see if it is legal first. All over the country, cities are passing laws that make it illegal to feed and shelter the homeless. For example, in this article you will read about a church in Maryland that was just fined $12,000 for simply allowing homeless people to sleep outside the church at night. This backlash against homeless people comes at a time when homelessness in America is absolutely exploding. In a previous article, I shared with my readers the fact that the number of homeless people in New York City has just set a brand new all-time high, and the homelessness crisis in California has become so severe that the L.A. City Council has formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. Sadly, instead of opening up our hearts to the rapidly growing number of Americans without a home, way too many communities are trying to use the law to force them to go somewhere else.
For nearly two thousand years, churches have been at the forefront of helping the poor and disadvantaged, but now many communities are trying to stop this from happening. Earlier today, I was absolutely stunned when I came across an article that talked about how a church in Dundalk, Maryland has been fined $12,000 for allowing the homeless to sleep outside the church at night…
A homeless man ‘froze to death’ on the streets of Birmingham just a day before UK charity Shelter warned more than 250,000 people in England will be homeless this Christmas as high rents, benefit cuts, and a worsening housing crisis create the perfect storm.
The body of the unknown man was found in the West Midlands city at 11.30pm GMT on Wednesday, the coldest night of the year.
It is understood the body, found in John Bright Street, is that of a 30-year-old man with no fixed address.
Figures compiled by Shelter reveal that 255,000 people across the country are forced to live in hostels and other types of temporary accommodation, or to sleep rough on the streets.
Not everything has to be regulated. Not everything has to be codified and signed off on by the red tape gurus. Life CAN happen just fine without such interference. And when the government is stopping a man from feeding the hungry, rest assured something is very wrong with the regulations, the codes, and the local bureaucrats.
(From The NY Daily News)
When 90-year-old Florida resident Arnold Abbott said following his arrest on Sunday that police couldn’t stop him from feeding the homeless, he apparently meant it.
Abbott was charged again on Wednesday night for violating a new city law in Ft. Lauderdale that essentially prevents people from feeding the homeless.
“I expected it” he said in a Sun Sentinel report. “At least this time they let us feed people first.”
Washington, D.C. – In 2015, the United States spent more on its war machine than the next six countries combined, with a total of $596 billion spent on military expenditures. This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with roughly $602 billion slated to be spent on military programs and armaments in the 2017 budget.
To put this amount in perspective, the U.S. spent more on its military than the next six nations combined, with China coming in second at $215 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia at $87 billion, Russia at $66 billion, with the United Kingdom, India and France spending roughly $50 billion each on defense expenses.
When looking at this spending in context, the U.S. not only spends more than the next six countries combined, but spends almost triple the amount on military expenses than the second biggest defense spender in the world, China, according to data from the Stockholm International Peach Research Institute.
On any given night in the United States, there are an estimated 578,000 people who are sleeping without a roof over their head.
Instead of embracing the spirit of the season and being a little more giving and compassionate than normal, 15 American cities are trying to sweep their homeless members of the community out of public view, NPR reported.Throughout the month of December, Portland, Maine has been rapidly tearing down homeless encampments. Earlier this year, the city cut funding for both shelters and expenses to provide those who couldn’t get into shelters with motel rooms.
In Seattle, Washington, the mayor declared a “war on homelessness,” and has lived up to it. There are two “legal” homeless encampments in the city, which house up to 100 people. All others have been torn down by police. Law enforcement destroyed 80 encampments in 2012, 131 in 2013, 351 in 2014, and 527 as of November 2015, the Seattle Times reported.
In a time of rampant statism, feeding the homeless has become a revolutionary act.
Dallas, TX — When feeding the homeless becomes an act of civil disobedience, Americans have been asleep for far too long.Luckily, however, there are still good people who are willing to defy such arbitrary and ill-conceived laws and ordinances.
The folks over at the aptly named organization Don’t Comply, took to the streets just outside the Austin Street Shelter in Dallas this weekend to perform, what has now become a revolutionary act – feeding the homeless.
– Over 50,000 families shipped out of London in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents (Independent, April 29, 2015):
Exclusive: Councils are currently moving homeless mothers and children out of their boroughs at a rate of close to 500 families a week
– San Antonio Woman Fined $2000 For Feeding The Homeless (ZeroHedge, April 16, 2015):
Based on the newsflow in the last few weeks, Americans must increasingly consider themselves lucky just to avoid getting shot in the back or being run over by trigger-happy, heavily armed officers of the law. Unfortunately while we (hope we) mostly jest, the reality is that America has quietly turned into a heavily weaponized police state right under everyone’s noses. A police state in which one doesn’t have to be considered even a remote threat by the authorities to suffer. Consider the completely innocuous act of feeding the homeless, with a permit, which as San Antonio philanthropist Joan Cheever, founder of the nonprofit food truck, the Chow Train, discovered last week was enough to get her ticketed and fined $2000 for feeding the homeless.
– Doing God’s Work – San Francisco Church Sprays Homeless People with Water to Keep Them Away (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 20, 2015):
I’ve covered the plight of the homeless in America in recent years as another manifestation of the erosion of decency, empathy, morality and kindness throughout much of our culture. As a society, we’ve become increasingly obsessed with youth, materialism, power and short-termism, tossing aside wisdom, real joy, soulfulness and connectivity. One of the symptoms of this unfortunate transformation can been seen in how we treat the least fortunate and most vulnerable around us, particularly the homeless (see: In 33 U.S. Cities, Feeding the Homeless Has Been Criminalized).
Of all the institutions you’d hope to take a different stance toward the weak and struggling, places of worship would be at the top of the list. Not so for Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, which admittedly sprays sleeping homeless people with water in order to keep them away.
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — KCBS has learned that Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.
– 90-Year-Old WW2 Veteran and Two Clergymen Face 60 Days in Jail for Feeding the Homeless in Florida (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Nov 5, 2014):
“Drop that plate right now!”
– Florida police to 90-year-old WW2 vet Arnold Abbott as he tried to feed homeless people
Last week, I reported on the very disturbing fact that a Boynton Beach, Florida police officer had been accused of raping a 20-year old woman at gunpoint while on duty. A week later, we learn that police just 33 miles south, in Fort Lauderdale, raided a 90-year old World War II veteran and two clergymen and charged them with feeding the homeless. Under a new law, these three humanitarians face penalties of up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail for, well, being humanitarians. No, I’m not making this up.
We learn from WPLG Local10:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale police charged three men — including two pastors and a 90-year-old man — for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the first such cases made by the city after the a new ordinance effectively banning public food sharings took effect Friday.