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USShould people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.

05:41  23 august  2019
05:41  23 august  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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With an estimated 2,200 homeless adults sleeping on sidewalks and in makeshift tent cities , Austin has become the latest flash point in the national debate over whether homeless residents have a constitutional right to sleep on public streets , particularly in cities grappling with overcrowded

People aren’t pooping on the streets because they unlearned basic hygiene. Sightings of human feces on the sidewalks are now a regular occurrence; over the past 10 years While there aren’t actually more homeless people than there have been in the past, the gentrification of San Francisco has had a severe effect on the homeless . Bathroom access should be considered a basic right

Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.

AUSTIN —Christopher Paul hasn’t felt a police officer tapping at his foot in more than a month — the tap, tap, tap that usually meant he was about to get another citation that he was never going to pay.

Police: Westminster Teen Wanted In Homeless Man’s Murder ‘On The Run’

Police: Westminster Teen Wanted In Homeless Man’s Murder ‘On The Run’ Three other men have already been arrested in connection with the killing – 21-year-old Andrew Holguin of Midway City, 19-year-old Christian Huerta of Huntington Beach, and a 16-year-old Westminster boy who was not identified due to his age. Police say they are also looking for 18-year-old Jeffrey Andrade in connection with Le’s murder. “Motive for this murder is unclear at this time,” a statement from the Westminster Police Department said. “There may have been witnesses in the area at the time of the crime and we hope someone will come forward and provide additional information about this case, or Andrade’s whereabouts.

Facing new conditions, cities are addressing an unfolding crisis by moving from enforcing Which is why L.A. has a big-dollar, top-down plan to serve the city ’s growing homeless community, mostly But while cities allocate funds to serve the needs of the chronically homeless , they should also be

Today, homeless individuals sleeping on benches, doorways, sidewalks and under freeways are common sights in major cities up and down the state. Homelessness in California has a massive public cost in terms of the stress it's putting on our medical system and our justice system.

Living on the streets for five years after he lost his graphic-design job, Paul has been having undisturbed nights since the City Council and mayor eased restrictions on “public camping” this summer, a move that liberal lawmakers billed as a humane and pragmatic reform of the criminal-justice system. But the change has drawn the ire of Republicans and local business owners who decry it as a threat to public safety and the local economy, exposing a partisan clash over how to manage poverty and affordable housing in America’s cities.

Since Austin’s public-camping ban was relaxed, “people can sleep much better in the open, and they are a lot safer than somewhere hiding in a back alley,” said Paul, who estimates that he received 20 citations for illegal camping before the rule change went into effect July 1.

Bangladesh slum fire leaves 10,000 people homeless

Bangladesh slum fire leaves 10,000 people homeless More than 10,000 people have been left homeless after a massive fire engulfed a slum in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, destroying thousands of shanties, according to Bangladeshi officials. The fire broke out Friday evening at the Chalantika slum in Dhaka's Mirpur district on the northern outskirts of the city. Video footage showed the makeshift huts ablaze, with smoke billowing into the air. Zillur Rahman, the director of the Bangladesh Fire Service, told CNN that the fire started at around 7:14 p.m. local time Friday and was put out by 11:35 p.m.

The right -wing administration of the current mayor João Doria has largely tried to undermine the city ’s already weak social welfare provision and bring in more private business. “We have a planning department with literally hundreds of projects. But they have all failed due a lack of time or money.

Beside a glamorous retail centre, a new community is forming. The growing homelessness crisis is the legacy of austerity.

But as Paul, 50, sprawled out shirtless on the sidewalk on a 100-degree day, shop owner Craig Staley stood a few feet away on Congress Avenue reconsidering his party affiliation.

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“I got two emails last month from customers who said, ‘I can’t go to your store anymore because it smells like urine,’” said Staley, who operates Royal Blue Grocery. “I am a Democrat at heart; I have been in Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. But I am telling you, I am feeling a lot more red these days when it comes to my business.”

With an estimated 2,200 homeless adults sleeping on sidewalks and in makeshift tent cities, Austin has become the latest flashpoint in the national debate over whether homeless residents have a constitutional right to sleep on public streets, particularly in cities grappling with overcrowded shelters.

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Prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on the streets when there is no shelter available is a form of cruel The case stems from two ordinances in Boise, Idaho, that make it a crime to sleep or camp in In December, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said that homelessness had

City officials, homeless advocates and those living on the streets point to a main culprit: the region’s booming economy . Four out of every five homeless individuals there are considered unsheltered, leaving tens of thousands of people with no place to sleep other than the streets or parks.

As a legal matter, the issue could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The city of Boise, Idaho, plans to appeal a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which applies in nine Western states. The ruling determined that criminalizing public sleeping is unconstitutional when there is inadequate shelter space.

Meanwhile, Republicans have made the nation’s growing homeless population a political weapon, characterizing it as a failure of liberal policies.

“Look at Los Angeles with the tents and the horrible, horrible conditions,” President Trump said at a Cincinnati rally this month. “Look at San Francisco; look at some of your other cities.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), when asked about Trump’s recent comments, said that Democratic policies have fueled the economic resurgence of U.S. cities that has caused a short-term increase in homelessness. California is home to nearly half of the nation’s homeless people who do not use shelters, according to federal data.

“We don’t need [the president’s] megaphone to tell us we have challenges,” said Newsom, adding that California is spending $1.7 billion to address housing affordability.

L.A. could ban homeless people from sleeping near schools, parks and other facilities

L.A. could ban homeless people from sleeping near schools, parks and other facilities Los Angeles has long been locked in battles over where and how people can bed down on its streets and sidewalks — a debate that has played out for decades in City Hall, in the courts and on avenues lined with squalid tents and bedrolls. © Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times A homeless man prepares to sleep for the night in a streetside encampment beneath the gleaming towers of the financial district in downtown Los Angeles. The city has been brushed back in court by homeless advocates, who argue that it is cruel and useless to punish people if they have nowhere else to sleep.

Almost instantly, homeless people disappeared from the streets into whatever makeshift shelters The city currently has over 280 shelters, with more on the way. But the homeless problem is too While it hasn’t had a right to shelter law like its East Coast sister, San Francisco has still been a

No one should live on our streets ; homelessness is detrimental to our community, disempowers those experiencing it and affects the quality of our city life and accessibility to public space. Moreover, marginalization and isolation from our community leads to a sterile society that perpetuates the cycle

In Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has threatened to push the GOP-dominated Texas legislature to pass a law overriding Austin’s public-camping action. The Travis County Republican Party has organized a petition drive calling for the policy to be rescinded, and local party leaders are trying to put it on the ballot next spring.

“They thought it would be compassionate and not a big deal, but it has been an absolute disaster for this city,” said Matt Mackowiak, chairman of the county party. “This is our best example of [liberal] overreach, so we have been very strategic focusing on this issue.”

But Austin officials are refusing to back down, saying it’s not practical to effectively criminalize homelessness.

“When you move these people, they don’t disappear. They just go somewhere else,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D). “The real answer is not just moving people from there to over there and back again. The real answer is giving them the services they need.”

Previously, the city prohibited “sitting or lying down on public sidewalks or sleeping outdoors” in downtown Austin, where an influx of well-paid workers has driven up the cost of housing. Between 2014 and 2016, Austin police issued 18,000 citations for rule violations, which cost as much as $500 with court fees, though many violators received only community service hours.

Los Angeles Homeless Illegally Use Fire Hydrants to Fill Water Balloons, Bathe, Shave

Los Angeles Homeless Illegally Use Fire Hydrants to Fill Water Balloons, Bathe, Shave Homeless people across Los Angeles are illegally using fire hydrants as a source of water to bathe, shave, even fill water balloons, leaving the hydrants damaged and often useless to firefighters during the critical fire season, an NBC4 I-Team investigation finds. © NBCLA A woman uses water from a fire hydrant to fill up a balloon on Skid Row. The I-Team's findings come more than a month after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the LA Fire Department to immediately find and fix all damaged hydrants near "high density homeless encampments." NBC4 found the city has failed to do that.

Street papers, whereby homeless people sell a magazine on the street to create an income, are still seen as one of the most effective tools in fighting homelessness . Richard T Kelly: Councils should not be the sole focus of pre-election promises by politicians to build more affordable homes.

Homeless Bill of Rights . Housing not Handcuffs Campaign. Homeless People Deserve Food Too. A majority of local and state homeless coalitions are witnessing an increase in homelessness in the wake According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s 2016 Point-in-time

But those cited didn’t show up for court 90 percent of the time, a 2017 city auditor’s report found, and nearly three-quarters of the citations led to an arrest warrant.

Concerned that those criminal records made it even harder for homeless people to find jobs and housing, the Austin City Council amended the ordinance to allow loitering if an individual is not posing a threat to the “health or safety of another person or themselves” or “impeding the reasonable use of a public area.” Overnight camping is still prohibited in city parks and at city hall.

“We basically said, if someone is poor, and they have nowhere to sleep, and they are not endangering or blocking anyone, how can we say that is wrong?” said Gregorio “Greg” Casar, a council member who pushed to ease the rules.

Alvin Sanderson, who has been living on Austin streets since he was released from prison in 2014, thinks the new approach is saving lives. After he received two citations for public camping, Sanderson slept in drainage ditches to avoid the police until, one night in 2018, he was awakened by a thunderous wall of water that crashed down the creek bed during a flash flood.

“The water hit my back and I stood up and it just washed me off my feet,” said Sanderson, 64, who was swept downstream.

Sanderson was rescued, but his story helped convince Austin lawmakers that they needed to bring homelessness out of the shadows.

Now, on some mornings, dozens of homeless people are sleeping on sidewalks in the city’s well-known East Sixth Street nightlife district. A messy encampment has been erected near a mural honoring two Texas music legends, Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson.

Good Samaritans help California cop subdue homeless suspect who tried to take deputy's weapon

Good Samaritans help California cop subdue homeless suspect who tried to take deputy's weapon Three men are being hailed as heroes after they stepped up to help a California police officer who came under attack while trying to arrest a homeless suspect during the weekend.

Many older homeless people have been on the streets for almost a generation, analysts say, a But homelessness is rising in big cities where gentrification is on the march and housing costs are She tried to sleep on the streets , shivering on the sidewalks at night, until she finally pleaded for a room

Homeless Bill of Rights . Housing not Handcuffs Campaign. Homeless People Deserve Food Too. If you only have a few days before you may become homeless , it is helpful to start making plans. Apply for Transitional Housing In some communities, transitional housing is an option for people who

That has sparked intense backlash from Austin business owners along the corridor.

“We hear it from our guests that walk into the restaurant and say, ‘My God, what has happened to Austin?’” said Gary Manley, owner of the Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant, Grill and Margarita Bar.

There were about 553,000 homeless people in the United States last year, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and 35 percent of them were not sleeping in shelters. It was the second consecutive annual increase in homelessness, a trend being driven by single adults, the report noted.

The debate over camping bans triggered a far-reaching federal lawsuit in Boise, where the ban was ruled a violation of the constitutional right against “cruel and unusual punishment,” because sleep is “biologically essential.”

Theane Evangelis, an attorney for the city of Boise, said courts should not “usurp” the role of local governments in regulating public health and safety, noting that homeless camps in Los Angeles and elsewhere have been battling outbreaks of disease.

“We need to keep control over those issues in local communities because they are very complex problems, and constitutionalizing the issue ties the hands of cities and states to address this,” Evangelis said. She is partnering with attorney Theodore Olson, who argued the Supreme Court case that mandated same-sex marriage nationwide.

On a recent morning in Austin, Curtis Underwood, 49, was sitting along Sixth Street with a bloody nose. He said he suffers from epilepsy and had just been to a local social service agency searching for housing but was turned away.

“They said there is a waiting list of at least six months,” Underwood said. “I guess I need to get a job, but the rent is so expensive because all the people from California are moving here.”

Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.
Should people have a right to sleep on city streets? Texas joins national battle over urban homeless crisis.

The wait list for affordable housing is about three years, said Adler, the city’s mayor. Austin is planning to spend $30 million to build more, but Adler notes that state funding has been stagnant — one reason he’s outraged over the governor’s opposition to Austin’s public-camping action.

Homeless Woman Accused Of Trying To Fling Teen Runner Off Santa Ana Bridge

Homeless Woman Accused Of Trying To Fling Teen Runner Off Santa Ana Bridge The boy was on a training run with the Capistrano Valley High cross country team when the woman grabbed him and put him in a headlock, prosecutors say.

Frequently, homeless LGBT persons have great difficulty finding shelters that accept and respect them. School safety – Schools should be a safe haven for all youth, including LGBT youth. Expanding housing options – LGBT homeless persons need safer access to housing options that will

The day after the relaxed rules took effect, Abbott retweeted a photograph of a car crash and implied that a homeless person caused it by running into traffic.

“Look at this insanity caused by Austin’s reckless homeless policy,” Abbott wrote.

Austin police later told local news media that there was no evidence a pedestrian caused the crash.

Abbott did not respond to requests for comment.

But even some homeless people in Austin question whether the rules are too lenient.

“Everyone now has a sense of entitlement, and now things are beyond out of control,” said Ambra Hall, 38, a homeless woman who was sitting in a camp while five men were passed out at her feet after smoking synthetic cannabinoids. “It went from one extreme to another, from criminalizing people for not having a home, to this.”

Drug use and crime in some homeless camps has become fodder for Republican politicians in Texas and nationally. In Washington, state Sen. Phil Fortunato announced that he will run for governor next year on a platform that includes removing the “criminal homeless” from the streets by incarcerating them for even minor crimes.

“Everyone wants to address it with kid gloves,” Fortunato said. “You have got to get them off the streets.”

Republicans think they have the upper hand, noting that Denver’s “Right to Survive” measure, which would have allowed people to sleep in tents or cars in public, was voted down by 82 percent of voters this spring.

In Austin, however, views about the camping rules may be less decisive.

Homeless residents “have nowhere else to go,” said Michael Sherman, 40, a graphic designer who moved to Austin four years ago from Fairfax, Va. “So it doesn’t bother me if they are just lying around.”

Dig Deeper: Housing + Income inequality

Want to explore how growing income inequality affects housing in the United States? Check out our curated list of stories below.

The debate over how to provide affordable urban housing

D.C. housed the homeless in upscale apartments. Now, police visits to the building have nearly quadrupled since 2016.

Context matters: California’s approach to resolving homelessness

Nearly half of the nation’s unsheltered homeless people live in California.

Understanding why minimum-wage workers can’t afford housing

Even with rising minimum wages and a booming economy, there is nowhere in the U.S. someone working a full-time minimum-wage job could afford a two-bedroom apartment. And the low-wage workforce is projected to increase over the next decade.

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Homeless Woman Accused Of Trying To Fling Teen Runner Off Santa Ana Bridge.
The boy was on a training run with the Capistrano Valley High cross country team when the woman grabbed him and put him in a headlock, prosecutors say.

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