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Forum Post: Raids, Harassment at Occupy Tent Cities Start Broader Conversation About Criminalizing Homelessness

Posted 11 years ago on Aug. 17, 2012, 4:12 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Raids, Harassment at Occupy Tent Cities Start Broader Conversation About Criminalizing Homelessness

The lack of federal funding for programs to mitigate homelessness is not due to a lack of resources, but rather to a lack of resolve to make it a priority. US defense spending more than doubled from $295 billion in 2000 to over $700 billion in 2011; clearly war is a priority. The US government has spent $3.3 trillion dollars in bailout funds for some of the largest banks in the country; clearly Wall Street is a priority. The federal government spends more on tax breaks for homeowners than it does on low-income housing assistance programs. In 2008, "homeowner tax breaks cost the US Treasury approximately $144 billion, with 75% of this expenditure benefiting homeowners earning more than $100,000 a year, while total funding in all federal low-income housing assistance programs was $46 billion - a difference of $98 billion."

Clearly, homeownership is a priority. Is it an accident that it has also helped to create too-big-to-fail banks and support speculation in the housing market with its accompanying transfer of wealth from citizens to banksters?

In San Francisco, despite the fact that homeless advocates "have been raising the issue of homeless families with the mayor's office for years," the city had been sitting on $824,000, including $500,000 from a Dave Matthews band charity concert in 2004. Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne donated $1.5 million in December 2011 to help the city with the homelessness issue. After receiving the Benioff's donation, the city set a goal of housing 200 families by Christmas 2011.

The city failed to achieve the goal of housing 200 families by Christmas, and it failed the subsequent goal of housing those families by Easter of 2012. San Francisco spends nearly $40 million per year on supportive housing, yet homelessness remains a problem.




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[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

tweeted. This would also make a good open letter.

Shame Government - because they are acting Shamefully.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23761) 11 years ago

"The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members." - Mahatma Gandhi

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

It's illegal to feed the homeless in Tampa. How messed up is that?

[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 11 years ago

I have mixed feelings about this. Clearly, feeding the homeless, or helping an any way, shouldn’t be illegal. The flip side is there’s a high level of drug and alcohol abuse among the homeless. In my city the downtown business complain about drunks and aggressive panhandlers hurting their business. A recent news local news story showed business owners complaining about homeless folks sleeping in front of businesses, drinking and bothering customers.

Historically homelessness was primarily due to mental health, drug or alcohol abuse or just bums. That has changed over the past few years. These days a lot of folks, families and kids are homeless. The situation is more complicated than just giving food to the homeless.

I don’t know the answer. Being homeless shouldn’t be a crime. On the other hand a business owner shouldn’t have to suffer because nothing can be done about people sleeping in his doorway.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

Thats why they had to outlaw panhandling on the streets in Tampa. It was insane, every intersection was filled with people 24/7, and way too many people were getting harrassed.

If cities really wanted to do something about this, they could. Of course, the lawyers who ruin good organizations that minute something goes slightly wrong dont help any either.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 11 years ago

Anti homeless laws have been a problem for a long time and should be repealed. Our recent laws even in liberal NYC are all related to shutting down dissent.

We must challenge these laws. Get arrested. Sue.

There have some recent wins but it is very difficult