Thursday, August 29, 2013

South Carolina city makes being homeless illegal

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...
South Carolina’s capital city is dishing out some southern discomfort following a controversial decision to criminalize its homeless.

On Aug. 13, the Columbia City Council approved a plan that effectively makes homelessness illegal in parts of the city. The proposal forces those who sleep outdoors to be sent to a shelter on the outskirts of town. Those who don’t comply will be rounded up and forced to leave or sent to the slammer.

“It’s basically a choice between two kinds of jail,” Jake Maguire, spokesman for Community Solutions’ 100,000 Homes Campaign, told Fox News. “There’s jail and then there’s the shelter.”

He added, “Once you get there, you can’t come and go. You are basically brought to a place where you are expected to stay. If you want to go back downtown, you have to get approval for them to shuttle you back.”

But Councilman Cameron Runyan, the man behind the proposal, believes moving Columbia’s homeless shelter 15 miles from the city’s downtown area can cut crime and draw in more businesses and opportunities.

“If we don’t take care of this big piece of our community and our society, it will erode the entire foundation of what we’re trying to build in this city,” Runyan told the council. “What I see is a giant risk to business.” Read more >>
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