"Punishing the Poorest"
"I have to hide like a dog at night."
-Oscar, homeless in San Francisco
The Coalition on Homelessness recently published an important report about the effect of criminalization on people who are homeless. This report highlights the added difficulties put upon homeless people by punitive policies that don't address root causes of homelessness. We know this to be true from talking with guests of The Gubbio Project and its helpful to have statistics on the subject.
We are grateful to The Coalition on Homelessness and all the people who made this report possible!
From the introduction:
"Since 1981, San Francisco has passed more local measures to criminalize sleeping, sitting, or panhandling in public spaces than any other city in the state of California. During this same period, the United States has experienced the greatest expansion of its jail and prison system under any democracy in history. This expansion has primarily affected the poorest members of this society.
...The study makes evident how criminalization not only fails to reduce homelessness in public space, but also perpetuates homelessness, racial and gender inequality, and poverty even once one has exited homelessness.