Homeless Americans

Topics: Homelessness, Poverty, Homelessness in the United States Pages: 4 (1413 words) Published: April 20, 2001
In our current time of economic prosperity in the United States, many people are enjoying greater wealth, higher earnings, and profitable investments. Unemployment rates are reported to be low, and wages high. Yet there is still an extraordinary amount of homeless people living in the United States. In an article entitled "The Criminalization of Homelessness" Celine-Marie Pascale tries to convey how the homeless are being treated unfairly by society. Criminalization might be a little too strong a word to apply to the punishment of homeless people, but Pascale is trying to make a statement about the homeless situation in the United States today. I would like to take a closer look at this article and examine the points she is trying to make. Pascale begins her article by stating that many U.S. cities are enacting laws which would punish homeless individuals for doing things many ‘ordinary' people do all the time. For instance, loitering or sleeping in public (320). She states that the California Homeless and Housing Coalition estimates that there are around a million homeless people in California alone. Eight self governed cities in southern California and at least one city in northern California passed anti-sleeping laws, says Pascale (320). Another law in the city of San Francisco states that it is "illegal to linger for more than 60 seconds within 30 feet of an automatic teller in use" (321). The city of San Francisco spent a lot of time and money to arrest 15 people for begging in 1993 and Pascale alleges that there are several other major cities in the U.S. with similar laws (321). According to Pascale, Berkeley uses trespassing laws and loitering laws to keep people off the sidewalks and away from places like parks and laundromats. And in Santa Cruz you can be arrested for sitting on a sidewalk, sleeping outside, or even sleeping in a car (321). Pascale asserts that the reason for these laws is to protect the businesses located around these...

Cited: Begrens, Laurence; Rosen, Leonard J. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 7th ed. New York, Longman, 2000. 320-322.
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