More than half of the cities surveyed have laws that restrict or prohibit an individual from sitting or lying down in public, a 43% increase since 2011;
Laws that prohibit an individual from living in a vehicle have increased 119% since 2011; and
There has been “a 60% increase in citywide bans on basic activities, suggesting that the nature of criminalization is changing; and rather than limiting criminalization laws to certain parts of a city, like downtown commercial districts or tourist areas, more cities are banning these activities throughout the entire community, effectively making it illegal to be homeless anywhere in the city.”
The authors provide policy recommendations to address the report’s findings for federal, state, and local governments. Recommendations to federal agencies include:
HUD is urged to direct fewer McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grant dollars to communities that criminalize homelessness, and encourage PHAs to use their discretion to accept people with certain criminal histories; and
The report summarizes a survey of 187 cities that gauges the extent to which cities have enacted laws to restrict or prohibit basic human activities of people experiencing homelessness. Data are compared to findings from a survey done in 2011.