Phoenix Responds to Crisis Much Differently Than LA

The only thing that’s worse than having lots of people living in encampments is throwing them out of the encampments and making them more vulnerable,”

Los Angeles council member Mike Bonin

Phoenix Police Threaten Removal of homes for the homeless during crisis

Phoenix New Times published a great article recently. They highlight the problems between law enforcement and the homeless who are using tents on public property as a substitute for unobtainable housing. Phoenix seems to take a much differnt approach than what our neighbor to the west is doing in response to the coronavirus crisis. Granted, Cali had major homelessness issues prior to this pandemic and major failings in dealing with the crisis of homelessness throughout the state and in unfathomable numbers in big cities. Their proactive response to mitigate the spread of the virus throughout the homeless population has gotten much acclaim.

I wish Phoenix would take a lesson in this regard and stop criminalizing poverty and homelessness. Phoenix police continue to enforce outdated laws in other parts of the city. Last year the supreme court refused to overturn a previous 9th circuit court of appeals judgment confirming that ordinances that unjustly criminialize poverty and homelessness cause cruel and unusual punishment who have no other options when shelters are full, unsafe, or unwilling to accept personal property, pets, couples, etc.

What this should mean is that police stop harrasing people out of options and start offering compassion at a minimum and reasonable options for housing preferably.

What this should mean is that the State spends the funds set aside to provide shelter in hotels, abandoned buildings and other government owned property to provide a place to comply with the Federal Guidlines to “Stay Home” and facilities to maintain proper hygiene.

It should mean that the State is installing hand washing stations and toilets in high density areas of homeless throughout the city since public restroom facilities and the majority of businesses have closed.

It should mean that the State considers the health and safety of the homeless citizens of our fine state just as much as they protect any other resident.

It should mean that local police and other law enforcement act with compassion and empathy towards all peoples, regardless of housing status.

My thanks to Phoenix New Times and
Steven Hsieh
 for getting out there and reporting facts from both sides.

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