It seems counterintuitive that the “land of the free and the home of the brave” is becoming somewhat of an issue when it comes to serving or helping the homeless. It seems that homelessness has become somewhat of an epidemic in America. They are supposed to be free and able to have their basic human rights, though the police in cities still maintain the ability to confiscate their belongings, stripping them of their freedom.
The mayor of Denver, Colorado, Michael B. Hancock, announced that city police are forbidden from taking sleeping bags, blankets, tents, etc. from homeless people. Before that though, it was legal to take their belongings. The law that was used to enforce this was a ban on public camping though homeless people are not campers, they’re people who have nowhere else to sleep. Denver is one of the cities that is allowing the homeless to stay warm during the frigid temperatures of winter.
Other cities have different laws regarding homelessness and their possessions. The Los Angeles City Council allows homeless people to have items that will fit in a 60-gallon container, and they’re allowed to have their tents up in between certain hours of the night. Seattle still enforces the laws, just not as strongly, with some sweeps being cancelled. In San Francisco there is currently a lawsuit out on the subject, and in Honolulu, Hawaii the homeless is still being stripped of their belongings.
While some cities are on board with allowing homeless people to keep their belongings to keep them warm, or in Hawaii’s case cool, there is still a long was too go in protect the homeless.
It seems counterintuitive that a lot of people like to claim they know a lot but when it comes to the homeless, they know nothing. We don’t know as much about homeless people as we think we do. There are many factors that go into being homeless while most people in the US think it’s because the people are lazy, though that is not true. We need to understand more about how the homeless are homeless and what they need in order to survive.
There are two kinds of homelessness: the chronically homeless and the episodically homeless. Understanding the difference between the two can lead to understanding what each individual needs in terms of care and/or housing. There are also other factors that play into this, such as homeless people sharing one thing in common: head trauma. This is more into the reason they are homeless, having suffered a head injury and became erratic and unable to keep a job, thus losing their job and then their home. These people would fall into the chronically homeless, rather than episodically homeless.
Homeless people though are able to get their lives together. With programs such as Common Ground, who give homeless people homes in their buildings, the people can start to do a lot better with getting back on their feet. It is possible to rise up from a previous hell, which some people don’t believe is possible for homeless people, though if we get more educated on the subject, it can be a surprise of what can come with the facts.
It seems counterintuitive that one of the wealthiest men in the world won’t spare a cent to help some of the poorest people in the country. Newly elected president Donald Trump has stuck a nerve with the homeless, keeping quiet about what he is planning to do about their situation. During Barack Obama’s presidency veteran homelessness dropped 47% and chronic homelessness dropped by more than 20%, with the numbers continuing to decline. Trumps plans to make tax cuts are going to hurt this considering most of the funding for homeless shelters come out of the cities government spending.
Half of federal funds are spending on housing and emergency shelters. According to the president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Diane Yental, if Trump’s plan gets approved, there could be “devastating effects.”
On top of that, the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare could lead to the end of Medicaid, which was used to support those in homeless shelters. Luckily if this gets passed it won’t go into effect for another one or two years, but after that the results would be awful, states not having the funds for basic care, let alone extra care. Trump’s new policies will affect many, many homeless people in the future, should his plans go through.