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Criminalizing Homelessness

Some U.S. cities are allegedly trying to rid themselves of homeless people by making certain activities by the homeless a crime.gI saw a story about some cities that are trying to solve their homelessness problems by essentially making it a crime to be homeless.

Oh not in so many words.

They’re just writing tickets for people who do what many homeless people tend to do, like smoke in  park, for example.

I’m no sociologist, but it seems to me that solving a city’s homeless problem does not come by just forcing the homeless folks to move on to another town.

If they don’t have a place to live, they’re not going to have one in another town, either.

Anyway, I’m going to let the Associated Press tell you the rest, including the part about the guy whose $25 ticket escalated to $600:

By GILLIAN FLACCUS
Associated Press
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) – Army veteran Don Matyja was getting by on the streets of Costa Mesa until he got ticketed for smoking in the park.

Matyja had trouble paying the fine and now he says a $25 penalty has ballooned to $600.

The ticket is one of many new challenges facing the homeless in Orange County, where a number of cities have recently passed ordinances that ban everything from smoking in the park to leaning bikes against trees.

The laws echo what homeless advocates say is an unprecedented spike in such rules nationwide as cities struggle with how to address homelessness with tight budgets.

The homeless say the rules are intended to push them out of one city and into another by criminalizing their daily activities.

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