Columbia, S.C. is exiling homeless people who live in the downtown area of the city.
The plan to exile the homeless was unanimously approved by the Columbia City Council. The plan will create police patrols that will search the downtown area of the city for homeless people. Once found the homeless are given one of two options; Go to jail or go to a homeless shelter outside the city. While the second option doesn’t seem so bad at first, further details paint a different picture. Homeless can only leave the shelter is they set up an appointment, and then they have to be transported via a van. If homeless people leave the shelter and try to walk back to town, they will be stopped by a police officer that will patrol the road that leads back into the downtown area. The shelter, which has 240 beds and it open 24 hours, won’t likely be able to hold the 1,518 homeless people living in the Columbia area, reports MSN Money.
“The underlying design is that they want the homeless not to be visible in downtown Columbia,” Susan Dunn, South Carolina ACLU’s legal director, told MSN Money. “You can shuttle them somewhere or you can go to jail. That’s, in fact, an abuse of power.”
Columbia isn’t the first city to outlaw homeless people. Cities such as Miami, Tampa and Palo Alto have also passed laws that make it almost impossible to be homeless within city limits.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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