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Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:16 PM

10 Unbelievably Sh**ty Things America Does to Homeless People

http://www.alternet.org/story/154830/10_unbelievably_sh**ty_things_america_does_to_homeless_people/

For decades, cities all over the country have worked to essentially criminalize homelessness, instituting measures that outlaw holding a sign, sleeping, sitting, lying (or weirdly, telling a lie in Orlando) if you live on the street.

Where the law does not mandate outright harassment, police come up with clever work-arounds, like destroying or confiscating tents, blankets and other property in raids of camps. A veteran I talked to, his eye bloody from when some teenagers beat him up to steal 60 cents, said police routinely extracted the poles from his tent and kept them so he couldn't rebuild it. (Where are all the pissed-off libertarians and conservatives at such flagrant disrespect for private property?)

In the heady '80s, Reagan slashed federal housing subsidies even as a tough economy threw more and more people out on the street. Instead of resolving itself through the magic of the markets, the homelessness problem increasingly fell to local governments.

"When the federal government created the homelessness crisis, local governments did not have the means of addressing the issue. So they use the police to manage homeless people's presence," Jennifer Fredienrich told AlterNet last year. At about the same time, the arrest-happy "broken windows theory," which encourages law enforcement to bust people for "quality of life" crimes, offered ideological support for finding novel ways to legally harass people on the street.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply 10 Unbelievably Sh**ty Things America Does to Homeless People (Original post)
xchrom Apr 2012 OP
malthaussen Apr 2012 #1
countryjake Apr 2012 #2
xchrom Apr 2012 #3
countryjake Apr 2012 #5
Cali_Democrat Apr 2012 #4
Swede Atlanta Apr 2012 #6
pscot Apr 2012 #8
provis99 Apr 2012 #7
idwiyo Apr 2012 #9
Iris Apr 2012 #10
Aristus Apr 2012 #11
rppper Apr 2012 #12

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:20 PM

1. "Are there no workhouses?"

Actually, the answer to that one is "no." They say the GOP wants to take us back to the 1950s, but in this regard they want to take us back to before the Poor Law -- which was no piece of sterling legislation to begin with.

Community harassment of the indigent is nothing new. As with so many things, our big mistake as Americans of reasonably good will has been thinking we had risen above such crap.

-- Mal

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:39 PM

2. That's an eye-opener, for sure!

Thank you so much for posting that!

Here in my neck of the woods, our county seat has a great big empty abandoned Salvation Army store, a building that could easily house every single one of this county's homeless, if only someone took the initiative. How ironic that even an org founded to help the unfortunate no longer cares.

That same town is considering adopting some sort of law or statute to prevent people from stopping to speak with the sign-holders who sometimes line up at the freeway off-ramp, asking for work or other help. The city leaders even think they can make it a traffic violation to communicate with someone on the sidewalk, while driving. Some claim that panhandling must be outlawed, but since that won't totally sweep away the "Will work for Food" people, they are attempting to take it much further. It's a sad example of just one despicable tactic in one little burg in this land of plenty.

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Response to countryjake (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:41 PM

3. Ironic for a Good Friday topic, yes? Nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:48 PM

5. Ya, but especially pertinent reminder to a nation...

any day of the year, that has this sentiment emblazoned at its gateway:



The New Collossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Emma Lazarus, 1883

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:25 PM

4. USA! USA! USA!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:59 PM

6. Yes, we treat our fellow citizens like lepers......

 

I'm not suggesting there aren't some good programs around the country that try to address homelessness and poverty but as a nation overall we do a very poor job. I'm also not suggesting that a country that is, despite debt and the deficit, extremely wealthy, that we should terminate foreign and disaster relief any similar programs.

But for a country that so many claim to be solidly based on a Judeo-Christian tradition, we fail in how we treat our own citizens. Many will say we do a wonderful job by pointing to the record number of people receiving food stamps or unemployment insurance. But as a practical matter, food stamp assistance barely covers food needs and certainly doesn't allow a recipient to eat healthy, nutritious food. Unemployment insurance is never anywhere near a replacement for the income lost. And while yes, people should save for that rainy day, given the stagnation in real wages for wage earners for the past 3 decades, it is hardly surprising few Americans have that 6 months of income saved or, for that matter, much saved for retirement.

And as this posting points out we demonize those that are homeless. Many of them are not only down on their luck, out of work, etc. but suffer from physical and mental illnesses. We warehouse them or as Atlanta did during the 1996 Olympics, we clean them up a bit and buy them a one-way bus ticket to another city.

I would like to see the so-called Christians put their money where their mouth is.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 07:20 PM

8. Most seem to put their christianity where their money is

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 06:09 PM

7. we're onlly one step away from actually killing homeless people.

 

all these laws are designed to keep homeless people from existing, so the next logical step is to actively kill them.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 09:50 PM

9. K&R

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 10:18 PM

10. Sickening.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 01:13 AM

11. I see the consequences of this every day.

Police taking away my patients' medication, for the love of God...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 02:49 AM

12. here in Daytona beach....


"In Daytona Beach, service providers and business groups banded together to lower rates of panhandling with a program that hires homeless people to clean up downtown areas. In exchange, they received transitional housing."


There is a huge homeless problem here in Daytona...has been for many years. our esteemed police chief, Mike Chitwood, initially tried to give them bus tickets to the town of Deland, 20 miles west of Daytona, until Deland city officials caught wind of it. Chitwood still does "round-ups" of homeless before the two NASCAR races and two huge biker events we have during the year, usually to keep them out of sight via tresspassing, drunk and disorderly or vagrancy laws. The churches here and other private organizations do a good job, and there are many groups that feed and house the homeless...temporarily in most cases, but it is a growing problem as Orlando's homeless have made their way east. Seems the mouse city is doing everything in their power to give Orlando the appearance of the perfect city....i'm glad this article exposed Orlando and the surrounding area for what it is...and now with Sanford, an Orlando suburb, gaining negative attention, maybe this will hurt them where these city councilmen and women will feel it the most. Orlando is downright nasty to their homeless, as are a lot of Florida cities. i'm glad to know the town i live in is doing something more productive than trying to sweep it all under the rug.

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