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Criminalizing Homelessness Violates Civil Rights

Washington DC Legal DC

Laws criminalizing homelessness have been on the rise, but legal challenges repeatedly prove that those laws violate the civil rights of the homeless, says the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Yesterday, NLCHP released an advocacy manual that shows that favorable results were obtained in 66% of challenges to anti-begging laws, 71% of challenges to laws on sleeping in public, and 100% on laws that forbid food sharing with homeless people. Law Center executive director Maria Foscarinis, above, calls those laws a "waste of precious community resources" that "expose communities to costly litigation that they are likely to lose. The manual offers more constructive suggestions, such as a model policy for police interactions with homeless individuals.