The solution to the criminalization of homelessness in California
In California, hundreds of thousands of individuals face homelessness. Therefore, they are forced to look for public places for their living because they lack affordable housing, lack permanent housing, and cannot get emergency shelter in America. Along contending with the hard role f looking for employment, housing, and basic needs, coupled with inherent dilemmas of outdoor living, most of these homeless face criminalization, as pointed in my last paper, and sometimes face criminal charges and harassment from law enforcers due to their lack of shelter and the state of homelessness. Such homelessness criminalization takes various forms and very pervasive. They often include prohibition from sitting, sleeping, and belongings stored in public areas when shelter and housing are untenable. The law enforcers’ sweep to the inhabited areas by the homeless leads o property destruction, arrests, fines. Sometimes they apply selective enforcement of public area restrictions like open container ordinances, rules of a park closure, and loitering rules. Triggered by business interests and attitudes such as not-in-my-backyard, the communities have also felt the homelessness dwellers’ nuisance. Therefore, this paper assesses and advocates for at least a solution to the criminalization of homelessness in California and the effectiveness of the solution.
Decriminalization of homelessness
It is possible to de-criminalize homelessness. This paper presents currents developments and initiatives that explicitly show that there are developed. With time, it will be responsible for lessening the criminalization of the homeless needs in California completely. Avocations are advanced through policy reforms, municipal legislation amendments, offering judicial decrees, reforms practices of the police department, creation f housing and its reforms, and adopting a practice that has worked best in other country cities. California will change and provide better alternatives to the homeless community in its cities through the following approaches.
Methods of addressing the criminalization of homelessness in California
Recent county proceedings decreed the provision of homes to the homeless group and the advocates for the homeless reason towards change for the same. The court judge for the US district, David Carter, has been fighting for the Orange County cities and advocates for the homeless and has taken other steps to protect the homeless. For instance, when the riverbed of Santa Ana was planned for clearance, he contested that it be humanly done with more dignity. Besides, he gave policy restrain orders to stop police from arresting those not ready to leave their homes. He instead lifted the restraint order upon provision of vouchers to those who were to be displaced to enhance shelter capacity to offer more beds and coordinate with other sectors in planning. Besides, Judge Carter has a hard stance on county and city advocates and wants them to equalize criminalizing efforts to individuals and homeless sweep efforts to rehabilitate instead and house them. This stance should apply amongst the cities of orange.
The action of judge carter gives more hope to the homeless advocate since it can finish the blame shifts and the irresponsible cities’ actions to the homeless. The northern orange cities have been forced to meet the cost of policing and sheltering the homeless in their areas, more so in large homeless encampments like Santa Ana and the southern cities of Huntington Beach, Niguel, Laguna, and Irvine. Judge Carter demonstrates his consistency and practically coordinated efforts across the cities that can be used to solve homelessness. Consequently, one effective method of de-criminalizing the Californian homeless community is that policy advocates and makers should push the judiciary to apply a tougher stance on cities by using the template of Judge Carter. This approach suggests that if the city-county administrators a=are held accountable via legitimate threats for law enforcement through the bench, there are chances that every city will take responsibility for providing housing for their homeless populations.
Advocates of homeless policy have been representing their clients’ plight using the fourth and eighth amendment challenges to the action of county and city. Most of the jurisprudence highlighted above is constitutional approaches claiming unusual and cruel punishment in the eighth amendments. They use the fourth amendment challenges that allege the constitutional violation that protects individuals, papers, persons, and impacts against seizures and unreasonable searches. This amendment application is minimal to the homeless who do not have reasonable privacy as they live in public. By applying the fourteenth amendment, the county violates the fourth amendment by seizing and destroying the property of the homeless. The eight amendments challenge the advocates of the homeless and contend that criminalizing the homeless using any code relating to the status is an unusual and cruel punishment. These statutes and codes related to sleeping in public places, defecation, urination in public, property storage, pets keeping, sleeping in vehicles, and alcohol and drug use.
Homeless advocates are encouraged to use both the fourth and eighth amendment challenge on the county and city officials since courts are receptive to them. Advocates should pressure the courts to implement the Jones mandate and offer proper housing to the homeless population. Until enforced, both the fourth and eighth amendments’ challenges ascertain that the homeless property and shelter are not destroyed or seized without valid notice. Besides, it ascertains that the homeless communities are not punished for storing their property and living in places available to them.
One hundred eleven anti-homeless laws were adopted in California by early 2000, with an additional 97 suggested being adopted by 2019. They are comprehensive laws. The government applied homeless encamped items such as in Santa Ana center criminalization of shopping carts, Bluetooth speakers, lawn chairs, tents, bike spare parts carpets, and other recyclable items. School of law in Scuttle university right advocacy for the homeless project committed to advocating for such laws repeal for they criminalize the homeless and poverty and looks for better approaches of addressing the causes of homelessness and poverty. This university project has worked towards positive law changes relating to bike racks, parking vehicles, bridge underside fencing, hostile architecture, and warrants and citations abetments. Advocates, judges, lawyers, and the homeless community in California also need to front and follow such law changes. It is noted that orange city parts with $ 300 million every year in enforcing homelessness laws. Instead of using such policies, police officer Tony Yim encourages and fronts reforms like training police officers inequitable law enforcement. This method is good because it offer an avenue to relieving the homeless population should judges, lawyers, and advocates fail to change the law. Consequently, provided the law letter still discriminates on homelessness, proper development, and police training regarding equitable law enforcement and the dangers of the ongoing homelessness criminalization that can lead to lower citation and homelessness arrests and fewer property seizures and searches.
The housing first approach to easing criminalization is a model used to assist the homeless community and prioritizes establishing permanent housing for the homeless and ending their homelessness, and to provide them with a buffer for pursuing personal goals for improving their life quality. This model operates on the premise that people require basic needs like food and housing before finding other less critical things like getting the job and proper budgeting.
Through the United States, the interagency council on homelessness (USICH) elaborates that the housing first approach is proved. The housing first approach has gained traction in the county of orange due to the University of California Irvine research conducted about homelessness. This study depicted that annually, Orange county uses around $300 million to enforce homelessness policy and is distributed in the four sectors: hospitals, municipalities, housing agencies, and counties.
Besides, the non-profit results show that the cost for each individual among the first ten percent of the homeless living in the streets is around $ 440 000 annually. This housing-first model appears effective because if this cost is attributed per the same category, it reduces to $ 55,000 per person annually when giving housing services. Besides, the numerical findings of this study reported that the critical reason making the homeless end p in this state was high rent and insufficient wages. Currently, in Orange county, a housing-first model is already effective in decreasing the criminalization of homelessness, and this method, among others, should be adopted because of the following reasons:
Firstly, Jamboree has continuously invested in the individual project for housing construction to house the homeless is for those who are risking becoming homeless. Jamboree has so far constructed approximately 100 properties holding more than 8500 units within California. These units can accommodate more than 17,500 persons, and these numbers continue growing for every completed development. The non-profit organization has paired these properties with vital services. Jamboree, with their agencies, will continue with their housing-first model to house the homeless population and completely abate the criminalization of the homeless. WISEPlace is another organization like Jamboree that is also tackling steps towards ending problems of the homeless in Orange County and provides housing to adults and females to them; men and women with children do not qualify to get hosed by them. It works to accommodate ninety females annually. Besides, WISEPlace, having partnered with the Jamboree, enables homeless women to get comprehensive personal treatment, accounting for needs linked to nutrition, housing, education, employment, financial assistance, and financial responsibility.
The best approach
Of the four efforts, the housing-first model is the best approach. Instead of focusing on where the homeless are not supposed to be found, the housing-first model aims to create space for the homeless persons and families that they can legally associate with as home. Consequently, the housing-first model houses the homeless population. The housed individuals and families no longer remain fearful of criminalization that affects them under the anti-storage, anti-sampling, and all other ordinances against homelessness, as discussed above. This makes the housing first approach gain popularity among the lawyers, policymakers, judges, and the homeless community because it is the approach that addresses the root causes f their plight in the streets. The initiative’s ultimate goal is to provide a solution that changes the plight of the homeless in public places and positively changes the public’s notion about the homeless community from their perceived criminal group to a criminalized community.
Changing the Californian policy makers’ perception and the public is viewed as the best practice among scholars to proceed with the problem of the homeless. Instead of making the homeless population, the changing donors of criminal justice systems, judges, advocates, lawyers, and the homeless population realize that the housing-first approach is the most effective and cost-effective. With the legal reforms, reform in the police department, effective lobbying, and judicial decrees, the housing-first model can culminate the homelessness problem in California. All in all, the homeless plight is primarily a problem of inadequate housing.
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