Homelessness

What is rapidly becoming one of the biggest problems in the United States today? Homelessness is becoming a huge problem for all cities and largely populated states.  Some cities are passing you ordinances they do not help the homeless in their boundaries. Activists in these towns are coughing up a new people to cross the country because of their heroic actions.  A few of these cities passing ordinances are Fort Lauderdale, FL, Los Angeles, CA, and Austin, TX.

In Fort Lauderdale, FL, it is illegal to feed the homeless in public setting.  A man, who goes by the name Chef Arnold among the homeless, was arrested and cited twice in a two week period for going to a park in setting up shop.  He was one of three people who set out to feed the homeless on each occasion.  The homeless who have spoken to newspapers have said that they are always so happy to see him because most have hardly eaten in days due to their homeless state.  By making it illegal to feed the homeless, the city of Fort Lauderdale has decided they are against giving the homeless their due rights.  The City of Fort Lauderdale has stated that they want to be able to give the rest of the city a chance to experience all the public places such as parks, but really, they are forcing the homeless to either starved or move to a different city.

Los Angeles, CA, is not exactly any better at managing their homeless situation, however, be homeless are making headlines with a recent overturn on the ban on people living in their vehicles.  Since the early 1980's, Los Angeles has had this been an effect, however, only recently have the police force begun enforcing it.  Unfortunately, this meant that a group of people whose only means of shelter was a car was now being called criminals because they could not afford to live in an apartment.  A small group of people who were deemed to criminals decided to sue the city in 2010, losing in 2011, but appealing and eventually winning in 2014.  The reasoning behind the final decision brought on by a federal court is that the ban was being enforced on the homeless only, making it a discriminatory law, and therefore illegal under the Constitution.

Lastly, Austin, TX, has garnered national attention by passing ordinances that "help" the homeless.  But according to the tone given in many newspapers by the people of Austin, this is only a problem waiting to happen.  The old ordinance stated that nobody was allowed to sit and wait on a sidewalk.  Now, with the new ordinance in place, any person with disabilities is allowed to sit for up to thirty minutes on a sidewalk before being forced to move on or face a ticket.  This may seem like a step in the right direction, but it seems that the way residents (not the homeless) are viewing this is that it will ultimately hurt the public in much the same way if the homeless were allowed to just sit and panhandle on the street.  Of course, it can be a nuisance if there is someone outside your business panhandling for money, but deciding to look the other way and allow laws that hurt the homeless because you do not like the way it looks is selfish.

These cities, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and Austin, are only hurting the homeless population by passing these laws and ordinances.  Luckily there are people out there who believe that the homeless should be respected as much as any other human being.  By passing these laws, the homeless are being forced to either move on to a different city (and create a larger homeless problem there) or they are forced to pay a hefty fine for the things that they cannot help.  The homeless struggle is real; where to sleep, how to get food, all of these things that most people take for granted, are a real problem for those less fortunate.  Anyone can make a difference by just getting involved in his or her own city or town.

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