Forum Post: Raids, Harassment at Occupy Tent Cities Start Broader Conversation About Criminalizing Homelessness
Posted 9 months ago on Aug. 17, 2012, 4:12 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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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.