The first is an article in the New York Times about hate crimes legislation. You know as well as I do that Maryland recently enacted a law making an offense against a homeless people a hate crime. This article suggests that other states are considering the same ordinance, as the number of crimes against homeless people rise.
According to the article, our friends at the National Coalition for the Homeless are publishing a report stating that crimes against the homeless are rising as of late. Causes are varied, but the writer points out that the recession, rising unemployment, and foreclosure are pushing more people into poverty and at the same time, law enforcement is cracking down on encampments and other places homeless people might be.
In related news – and another New York Times article – Barbara Ehrenreich writes that it’s now practically a crime to be homeless. The op-ed contributor and author writes that there has been a signficant uptick in states, localities, and law enforcement criminalizing the poor. In heavy-handed language (in my opinion), Ehrenreich points to different ordinances and law that prohibit begging, sleeping in public, truancy, and littering – all, she suggests, discreetly targeting those most vulnerable.
The article is the third in a series chronicling the lives and challenges of poverty in America, by a woman who once went undercover to find out exactly what it was like.
Take a breather, click the link, and let me know what you think!