Criminalizing Homelessness in the U.S.

Demonstrates the startling trend toward
criminalizing homelessness

Criminalizing Homelessness in the U.S.

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has released a new report, “Criminalizing Crisis: The Criminalization of Homelessness in America.”

With poverty at record levels and as many as 3.5 million people homeless each year, this report analyzes local policies in 234 cities and demonstrates the startling trend toward criminalizing basic acts necessary for homeless persons’ survival, including eating and sleeping in public.

Of the 234 cities surveyed, the report shows that:

  • 40% prohibit sleeping in public places;
  • 33% prohibit sitting/lying in public places;
  • 56% prohibit loitering in public places; and
  • 53% prohibit begging in public places.

Among the 188 cities reviewed for both this report and the Law Center’s 2009 report, major trends include the following:

  • 7 % increase in prohibitions on begging or panhandling;
  • 7 % increase in prohibitions on sleeping; and
  • 10% increase in prohibitions on loitering.

Click here to read the report.