Homelessness has long been an issue in NYC and with the criminalization of homelessness these people are left stranded. Bans on camping in public increased 60% from 2011 to 2014, bans on loitering in public are up 35%, bans on begging in public went up 25% and bans on sleeping in public had no change (No Safe Place). Meanwhile the government plans huge sports facility projects for professional teams, instead of helping the citizens of NYC who are in need of it. Because of all these bans there is a higher number of these homeless people moving underground, into the subways, and other places out of site. According to Ian Frazier in his article titled ‘A Hidden City’, “For baseball games, Yankee Stadium seats 50,287. If all the homeless people who now live in New York City used the stadium for a gathering, several thousand would have to stand.” This is an absurd statistic in my opinion.
Another issue is that there aren’t enough shelters, or even shelters with beds. There should be some amount of government funds in my opinion that help out the homeless. Yes, I know those funds would be coming out of our pocket but not all homeless people are the stereotype druggies or low-lives. There are children who are homeless. Single parents. People who just completely struck out on luck. As a human I feel its necessary that we do everything to help each other out. According to Frazier, “under Bloomberg’s 12 years the number of homeless families went up seventy three percent.” He also states that one child out of every hundred is homeless in the city.
It doesn’t make sense to me why homeless people would be criminally charged for living on the streets, when they have no other choice. There should be better programs available to get these people off the streets and into shelters. Instead of trying to fix the problem of homelessness I feel as though the government is just sliding by without any resolve in sight. Not only in NYC is homelessness an issue which I’ve first hand experienced but also, while I was in LA over spring break I noticed a huge number of homeless people in the city. It seemed as though they weren’t being bothered by the police much as I remember seeing rows of tents.
I myself do not have the answer to solve homelessness though I wish I did, but public space doesn’t feel as public as it once did. With laws like those in place now there are more and more restrictions to what you can do in public spaces.
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