Illegal To Be Homeless? Houston Crackdown Spreads

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The success of Houston’s downtown “civility ordinance” has pushed a growing number of homeless people into adjoining neighborhoods, prompting residents of nearby Midtown to ask that the rdinance be extended to cover their neighborhood, the Houston Chronicle says. Last year, Houston’s City Council banned rummaging through garbage bins, aggressive panhandling and sleeping on downtown streets between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Said one woman who camps out on city streets with her tent: “I’m not bothering anyone, yet I keep getting chased out … “If they keep on moving us, where will we have left to go?”

Alvarado has suggested that groups feeding the homeless once a week coordinate with social service providers. One of the groups protested, saying that “organizations feeding the homeless shouldn’t be treated differently than any other organized group feeding people in a public park.”

A report issued yesterday by the National Coalition for the Homeless found that cities throughout the country are growing increasingly hostile toward the homeless by passing ordinances that it says make it “illegal to be homeless.”

“It’s a means of moving homeless population from view, and shuffling them from one neighborhood to the next,” said Molly Neck, who co-wrote the report. “There is a national attitude that (homeless people) don’t matter, and city councils perpetuate that.”


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