New law for homeless unfair

Less fortunate deserve our compassion


In Stockton, it isn’t rare to see homeless people.
Their presence is common near fast food joints, freeway underpasses and flea market entrances.
Their lives are difficult enough without proper housing, clothing or food. They have to make do with the few supplies they do have.
Well, the nearby city of Manteca has recently made the lives of the homeless even more difficult.
They recently passed a law banning the homeless from setting up encampments in public areas. The Manteca police are even allowed to destroy the homeless people’s encampments and possessions without the person’s consent.
Laws like these should not be passed. The homeless live in the streets because they have nowhere else left to go. Yes, these people can go to emergency shelters for basic needs including clothing and toiletries.
However, they are often only temporary. Acquiring permanent housing through the programs provided by the shelters is possible, but that takes time that the homeless people do not have in cases of emergency.
Shelters also overcrowd, and even though they will make their best efforts to accommodate everyone who shows up at their doorstep, there is a limit to how many people a building can hold.
The homeless are still out there on the streets, exposed to the elements of nature.
Because this law has been passed, how many more might pop up to follow along? That is what tends to happen — one event triggers a whole series of related events to be created.
Now, Manteca is not that far from Stockton. If a law like this were passed here, the results would be drastic on the lives of the people who stay out on the streets.
Instant alternatives must at least be offered. Giving the homeless warnings in advance when planning to take down their encampments would be humane. Even helping them move their belongings to shelters is ideal.
Fort Lauderdale in Florida passed a law earlier this year that made it illegal to feed homeless people.
Their actions have tremendous influence in other parts of the nation, as Los Angeles is now considering passing their own set of laws that will cripple their homeless population.
The National Coalition for the Homeless conducted a report in 2013 stating that 21 cities have passed laws applying restrictions to people who feed the homeless.
They also reported that this is a 47 percent increase since the last time they conducted a similar report in 2010.
Some cities deal with homeless people by sending them away, just to improve their image and boost their tourism rates.
Seeing people living on the streets may deter visitors as it creates a sense of danger, making people believe that it isn’t safe to walk down the sidewalks.
San Diego deals with their homeless situation by giving them a bus or plane ticket to another city, wiping their hands clean of the responsibilities of taking care of these people. That isn’t right.
Each and every city has the obligation to take care of their residents in a proper manner, not just simply dump them onto some other city and letting homelessness become their “problem.”
Everyone seems to forget that a homeless person isn’t just an old man in torn jeans, holding up a sign and asking for money.
The homeless are the women, the teenagers, the children just as well as the men.
Restrictive laws against the homeless only make their lives tougher and should not be put into place, especially during this time of the year when severe weather can hit and the holidays are around the corner.
Cities should instead focus on coming up with funds to take care of their residents and help them rebuild their lives.
Yes, it costs money, but these are living human beings we are talking about.
We can’t just scrape them off the face of the earth and pretend they don’t exist.