The Pros And Cons Of The Criminalization Of Homelessness

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Introduction
In neighborhoods undergoing gentrification, affluent “in-movers” bring with them “new housing investment, cultural and retail services, and improvements in infrastructure. Both higher rents and housing values, however, accompany these changes.” (Institute for Children and Poverty 2009: 1). These rapidly rising rents make the possibility of being “priced out” of the neighborhood a very real concern of those already living in gentrified communities. The closure of safety nets – such as transitional-living options like single-room occupancy buildings – and the increasingly crowded, inadequate, and underfunded shelter system leave those at-risk of or currently experiencing homelessness with few means of survival. Despite the lack of
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but also the universal rights as established by the international community. I will suggest a particular economic logic fuels this criminalization of homelessness as well as discuss the implications of such anti-homeless laws concerning notions of citizenship and personhood. I will then consider some alternatives to confronting homelessness that do not effectively criminalize and dehumanize those experiencing …show more content…
With safe and adequate shelter space unavailable, many people are forced to sleep or camp – for the purpose of establishing a temporary place to live – in public places out of survival. Cities such as Los Angeles, however, have adopted unconstitutional laws that mandate, “No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way” (City of Los Angeles 2016: Sec. 41.18). Such laws not only violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution– under which the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness who sleep in public when they have no available alternative constitutes as cruel and unusual punishment and which the application of such laws “improperly restrict innocent behavior,” respectively – but also the right to security of person as written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and signed by the international community within the United Nations (Criminalization of Homelessness Legal Strategy Guide: 2; United Nations General Assembly 1948: Article 3). The disparities between need and emergency aid for those experiencing homelessness means that on any given night hundreds of thousands have

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