Report: Laws Criminalizing the Homeless Creates More Serious Problems
Date:  11-18-2016

Homeless people are arrested for performing "life-sustaining conduct"
From the New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN >> A person pushing a shopping cart down a public street in New Haven can be subject to a $35 fine.

The city also has ordinances against loitering, camping and public consumption of alcohol and has park curfews, all of which target the homeless unfairly, according to a new report “Forced into Breaking the Law’: The Criminalization of Homelessness in Connecticut,”released Thursday from the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School.

“Laws criminalizing activities that people experiencing homelessness must engage in to survive constitute cruel and unusual punishment and restrict fundamental civil liberties, such as free speech and privacy rights,” Hillary Vedvig, a student author of the report, said in a press release this week. “These laws are also enforced arbitrarily and discriminatorily against people experiencing homelessness as well as against people of color, transgender people, and people with disabilities living on the street.” The report applauds the work Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his administration has done to prioritize ending chronic homelessness with the Zero:2016 campaign, but also states that the administration needs to do more to limit the criminalization of homeless populations.

“Enforcing laws that ban people from asking for money or lingering in a park square, through unaffordable citations, or even arrest, does not address the root problems of homelessness,” said Nate Fox, also in a release. Read more >>