Homelessness is a major concern for many cities all over the world. Statistics show that as of 2016, there is an estimated 549,928 people in the United States that are homeless. The government knows that homelessness is an issue, but they also know it’s not a good look for cities. So what they do is try to hide the homeless population in the most creative way possible.
Creating a positive image for cities is crucial, but is it worth doing something morally questionable? Instead of finding ways to maintain an image, it would be better to create an image that includes making more efforts to help the homeless population.
With that said, take a look at the following ways cities are taking control of the homeless populations and you can consider if they’re humane.
Putting Spikes Where Homeless People Sleep: In 2014, Montreal and London installed spikes on the ground of ledges where homeless people would sleep. The public did not take kindly to this and protesters actually poured concrete over the spikes. Over 130,000 people signed a petition to have them removed. Eventually, the spikes were removed.
Penalizing Panhandling: New York City has signs telling you not to give money to the homeless. Florida and Atlanta also have the same policy. Not only can the homeless population get fined or arrested for taking money, but the people giving it to them can also get in trouble as well. Just last year, a bill was proposed that would fine any motorist for stopping their vehicle to give money to a homeless person.
Banning Feeding Organizations: In 2014, laws were implemented in over 33 U.S. cities that restricted feeding the homeless populations. The penalty ranged from a hefty fine to possible jail time. In turn, this has resulted in fewer opportunities for the homeless to eat a decent meal.
Destroying Homeless People’s Belongings: If something doesn’t belong to you, do you have the right to take it or destroy it? No! But the California bureau doesn’t care. They conduct raids where they round up and destroy homeless people’s belongings by throwing them in garbage compactors. These belongings include tents, sleeping bags, clothes and cell phones.
No Sleeping In Public: If you’ve ever been to a public library or the subway station, you’ll notice that security guards are always on the watch for people who are dozing off. Many cities have banned people from sleeping in public spaces. A homeless person would much rather go to a shelter, but most of them are always full to capacity.
No Sleeping In Private: There are laws that prevent this from occurring. For example; if someone pitches a tent in the woods, it might violate the anti-camping laws that exist in many states. If they’re sleeping in their cars, they won’t be safe if they live in Los Angeles. LA has laws that prohibit people from sleeping in their cars near schools, homes and commercial districts.
Installing Uncomfortable Benches: There is a reason why a lot of the benches found on the streets are uncomfortable. Benches are a very popular spot for the homeless population to sleep. They’re purposely designed in a way that would make it impossible for someone to stay on them for a long period of time.
Locking the Garbage Cans: Many garbage cans are now designed in a way that makes it extremely difficult to get what is inside. The locking mechanisms stop homeless people from opening the can from the outside. Some garbage cans also have rain hoods that make it almost impossible to reach into the can.