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Discrimination against homeless people is the act of treating homeless people, or people perceived to be homeless, unfavorably. As with most types of discrimination, it can manifest in numerous forms.
Main article: Criminalization of homelessness
Use of the law to discriminate against homeless people takes on disparate forms: restricting the public areas in which sitting or sleeping are allowed, ordinances restricting aggressive panhandling, actions intended to divert homeless people from particular areas, penalizing loitering or anti-social behavior, or unequally enforcing laws on homeless people and not on those who are not homeless. American Civilities Liberties Union (ACLU) report that claimed that the government of LA discriminated against the homeless residents. The report lays out the ways such as “harassment, segregation, issuing citations,” by which the government discriminates against the homeless people and holds back essential services that could save their lives.
Another example of public policy failure could be seen in employment opportunities. Sarah Golabek-Goldman writes about BAN THE ADDRESS campaign by making a case that banning the address on a policy level will help homeless people who experience discrimination in seeking employment get a job to sustain themselves. Passing this law will help homeless get back on their feet because when they provide their address now the employers see their address as homeless shelter, and never call them back. This law will help in protecting the homeless against employment discrimination.
There are at least 5 states which consider crimes against homeless people with the reason being due to their homelessness to be a hate crime, which include Florida, Maine, Washington and Rhode Island. It is also a hate crime stature in Washington, DC.
The French novelist Anatole France noted this phenomenon as long ago as 1894, famously observing that "the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges".
For example, see Homelessness in California § Coerced Psycho-pharmoceutical Treatment
Precise factors associated with victimization and injury to homeless people are not clearly understood. Nearly one-half of homeless people are victims of violence. There have been many violent crimes committed against homeless people due to their being homeless. A study in 2007 found that this number is increasing. This can be further understood as to why this happens, and supported by another study that found that people do not even perceive homeless people as fully human, neither competent or warm.
Per the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in January 2017, there were a total of 553,742 homeless people accounted for across the United States, including territories. Of those accounted for, 192,875 of them were unsheltered and "lived in a place not meant for human habitation, such as the street or an abandoned building". Many unsheltered homeless camps are located in industrial districts and along highways, far away from public parks facilities where traditional public bathrooms are located. If local municipalities do not provide bathroom access, homeless people are left to urinate and defecate in the streets and waterways near their camps.
Robinson and Sickels with the University of Colorado Denver released a report highlighting the criminalization of homelessness across the State of Colorado. During their research, they found that 83% of the people they interviewed said they were denied bathroom access because they were homeless. Without access to bathrooms, unsheltered homeless populations across the country are living in third-world conditions. This, in turn, leads to public health concerns such as the hepatitis A outbreak seen in California. As reported by Kushel with The New England Journal of Medicine, in 2017 alone 649 people in California were infected with hepatitis A; this outbreak began in the homeless population.
City and town plans may incorporate hostile architecture, also known as anti-homeless or defensive architecture, to deter homeless people from camping or sleeping in problematic areas. Research conducted by Crisis (based in the UK) recorded that 35% said they were unable to find a free place to sleep as a result of the designs. The named hostile architectures include; anti-homeless spikes, segregated benches and gated doorways.
The anti homeless architecture built by the government exacerbates homelessness in our society. Due to the politicization of the homelessness problem, the funds to help people with mental illness have been diverted to other areas leaving the mentally ill without any help. Mental health is considered one of the biggest contributing factors of homelessness.
Ils y doivent travailler devant la majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts