It seems counterintuitive that law officials are taking away possessions from homeless people, considering they have very few possessions to begin with. It may be surprising to find out that tents, blankets, and other crucial items needed for homeless people to survive in extreme weather conditions are confiscated in several cities.
Due to many cities’ anti-camping laws or laws that prohibit sleeping in public, city police officers are ordered to “sweep” the city and seize homeless people’s property. This is often referred to as “the criminalization of the homeless.” In one instance in Los Angles, a homeless woman named Judy Coleman had her blanket and tent seized, and had to be hospitalized for pneumonia caused by being in cold weather. Despite these laws in place, many civil rights groups are actively working to stop the raids on homeless camps.
The active fight against city sweeps has been successful in a few locations. The mayor of Denver recently announced that items that keep the homeless warm in the winter would be taken. Also, in Los Angeles, it is now legal for the homeless to keep their belongings as long as they can fit in a 60-gallon container. The main point taken away is that reality needs to start to sink in for more city officials. It is not necessary to take away what few possessions the homeless have. If their items are taken away, but they remain on the street anyway, then there is no purpose. The goal for cities should be to shelter their homeless people, rather than seizing the items that are essential to their survival.
It seems counterintuitive that housing the homeless is not always the best solution to stopping homelessness. Housing is merely just a first punch in the fight against homelessness, and doesn’t always work out.
Not all homeless people are the same; therefore, every individual has different needs. There is a common factor between some homeless people though. Almost forty percent of the long-term homeless people have some type of head injury. A head injury can cause people to have mood swings, explosive behavior, and losing the ability to think clearly. This is usually why people lose their jobs, and eventually end up on the street.
It doesn’t make sense to think that sticking someone with a head injury back in a house will do the trick. It’s likely that same cycle will repeat itself and the person will find themselves without a home again. People will most likely have trouble adapting to their new home, especially for those who have been without one for years. Their mindset will have to change-no longer do they have to think about trying to survive every day, but have to learn how to fit into a “normal” society again.
So yes, housing is an important step to solving homelessness. Is it the complete solution? No. Many need an environment that will help them mentally, and be around people so they don’t feel isolated and lonely. They also need support in learning how to deal with making relationships, finding a job, managing finances, and just with the struggles of normal day-to-day life.
It seems counterintuitive that President Trump has dedicated much of his time focusing on fixing inner cities in America, but wants to cut government spending on programs that have been proven to decrease homelessness. Since homelessness is one of the main problems in inner cities, it doesn’t make sense to want to fix them while at the same time ignoring one of their major issues.
One of the major steps to ending homelessness is to provide affordable housing, and being able to expand that housing. Cutting down on funding for low-income housing and social services is not the way to do that. When federal funding is cut, there is less money distributed to cities and counties. In the 1980s, there were major cuts to housing programs, which started homelessness crisis that the United States still hasn’t fully recovered from. Without money being distributed to programs like Section-8 housing, Community Development Block Grant program, and all other housing programs that are currently being funded, an increase in the amount of people who are homeless is inevitable. In conclusion, a decrease in federal funding to crucial programs that help fight homelessness will not help “fix” inner cities, it will only create more problems.