Increasingly, cities across the
nation are implementing punitive measures to sweep homeless people out of
Ø Laws that make it illegal to do
things that people experiencing homelessness must do as a result of their
homeless status ultimately 'criminalize' homelessness, such as the prohibition
of sleeping, sitting, or storing personal belongings in public spaces that some
states have adopted.
o Criminalization measures do not
address the root causes of homelessness, making it more difficult for people to
move out of homelessness, and are not cost effective.
Ø Additionally, homeless people's
right to vote has been hit by two types of laws: Anti-terror laws and concerns
about voter fraud.
o It is crucial that the homeless
person's right to vote is protected, since this is one of the few ways that
homeless individuals can impact the political process and make their voices
Ø NLCHP's Civil Rights Program
protects the rights of homeless people. We fight practices and laws that
unfairly single out homeless people and criminalize them for everyday living
and life-sustaining activities.
o In conjunction with local
advocates, the Civil Rights Program has successfully opposed laws that
criminalize homelessness in cities across the country.
o The Civil Rights Program has
conducted state and federal level legislative advocacy to promote legislation
that will not hinder, but help homeless persons obtain identification cards.
Ø We develop positive, alternate
solutions to reverse this disturbing trend by engaging in advocacy to help
homeless persons overcome identification barriers and by promoting homeless
persons' voting rights. We work with police, city officials, homeless rights
advocates, and many others to implement our constructive solutions