Why are we still pushing criminalization of homeless people?

By Tommi Avicolli Mecca : 48hills – excerpt

It’s a political strategy that was once used against LGBT people, and it’s still alive in San Francisco

More and more evidence keeps emerging that housing-first efforts, or the placing of homeless people into housing paid for by the city, not only works in getting people off the streets, but is also much cheaper.

Yet, despite this, politicians in San Francisco continue to exploit the homeless issue at election time and push for further criminalization of a group that has been criminalized to the max. I don’t know who’s worse the politicians who exploit the issue or the electorate that continues to vote for them.

It’s similar to how politicians exploited the vice issue in the 1960s and 1970s, pushing for more and more criminalization and law enforcement against gay men and prostitutes…

This November, two moderate SF supervisors are proposing to criminalize pitching a tent on the sidewalk (Props Q & R), which is already against the law. In one of these proposed ballot initiatives, a special unit would be created within the police department to patrol neighborhoods to look out for, among other things, encampments and other activities by the homeless…

The greatest shame in all this is that one of the politicians pushing the anti-homeless initiatives here in SF is a gay man running for State Senate who doesn’t get that, had he been around in the 60s or 70s, he would have been targeted in the same way he’s targeting the homeless.

I can only hope that, this time around, SF voters are too smart to fall for this cynical ploy…(more)



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