As unemployment rises, the unfortunate predicament of homelessness swells in effect. And what’s even more shocking is how it’s being handled (or being pushed aside as someone else’s problem); shockingly similar to the segregation of the Holocaust in the 40′s, South Carolina’s city has created plans to collect its homeless and detain them in an area separate from the public.
In August, the Colombia City Council unanimously approved the plan, creating special police patrols that would enforce “quality of life” laws involving loitering, public urination, and other crimes not necessarily restricted to the homeless population. (Source: MSN)
The homeless would then be offered a choice by the officers: Go to jail for homelessness or be shuffled to a 240-bed, 24 hour shelter on the outskirts of town which they wouldn’teasilybe allowed to leave.
Activist Post reported that the Colombia South Carolina plan is already complete with an urgent Emergency Homeless Response report. The plan includes information about hauling the homeless away in transport vans to an already stationed shelter with workers, phone number for townspeople to report the “person in need”, an officer stationed to control foot traffic, public feeding moved there, more foot patrol offers for the city to keep out the homeless – oh, and the homeless can’t walk off the premise.
What may be good intent shockingly resembles the horrific 1940′s mass murder which limited freedom and drastically reduced the population. Not only that, homeless segregation to ‘keep public areas aesthetically pleasing” is a sucker punch for those experiencing the difficult edge of an economy in down turn. Effort should be made tocurb unemployment and perhaps alleviate the issue which is thecause of the rise in homelessness.
According to the plan, those individuals who wish to leave must get permission, set up an appointment, and be shuttled to a transport van. A patrolman will guard the road leading in to make sure homeless don’t wander off downtown.
Ex-prisoners will be shuttled there unless someone picks them up from the county jail. No foot traffic is allowed according to the many reports, only shuttle van arrival. This is a city plan and not a federal government plan.
In September, the council in Colombia, South Carolina decided to rescind its controversial decision to criminalize homelessness after facing major backlash from police, city workers, and advocates. However, it’s not the only council seeking a ‘solution’ for the rising numbers of homeless on the street.
How can limiting the rights of those in need be the answer? With 3.5 million homeless individuals and 18.5 million vacant homes, it seems the economic system is what needs to be checked, not people’s liberties.