Charlotte, NC — There is no doubt that the United States if experiencing a homeless epidemic. From coast to coast, the homelessness crisis has surged as cities struggle to cope with a growing number of houseless people, many of whom only recently found themselves in this predicament thanks to the government-mandated shutdown which sent the economy into a downward spiral over the last 18 months.
As municipalities struggle to find solutions, dinosaur politicians continue to rely on the one thing that has never worked — the police state. During a city council meeting last month, Council Member from Charlotte’s 6th District, Tariq Bokhari proposed making it a crime to help the homeless.
“People aren’t getting it and they’re still bringing food and money and resources directly to the folks that are out there right now. They’re only making themselves feel good, they’re hurting the ultimate folks, perhaps we explore making that a misdemeanor,” Bokhari said.
When asked why he thought this was a solution, Bokhari chalked it up to “tough love” in the form of fines or possible imprisonment for helping those in need.
“I think we need a heavier dose of tough love amongst this community especially amongst those who continually give money, and food, and clothing directly to these folks instead of giving them to the organizations that are designed to help them,” Bokhari said.
Apparently this low-level tyrant thinks that punishing people for their good deeds is how to solve the homelessness crisis. Though his comments went largely unchallenged in the meeting, luckily Bokhari is not finding much support for his proposal in the community and has received hefty backlash from activists.
“If there is someone standing outside asking for money and it’s laid on your heart to give them money, what should stop you?” Deborah Woolard, founder of Block Love Charlotte, which works on the ground with people who are homeless, told the Charlotte Observer.
“You shouldn’t feel like ‘I’m going to go to jail because I helped someone,’ because you never know if they truly are on their last (dollar), if it’s money needed to eat.”
It appears that instead of addressing the problem of homelessness with actual solutions like the construction of tiny homes or rehabilitation centers, authorities have turned to the police state once again. As TFTP has reported on countless occasions, this proposal illustrates that the state not only goes after the homeless, but they go after those who try to help them as well.
In the land of the free, government and law enforcement not only wage war on the poor and homeless through various unscrupulous means designed to extract revenue and attack the right to exist, but those who try to help the homeless—by feeding, clothing, or sheltering them—also face the wrath of the state. As TFTP has reported, even those who’ve laid down their lives for the state—veterans—and the ones who help them are also being targeted.
Judy Wu, a landlord in San Francisco converted 12 properties she owns into 49 housing units over the last decade which she and her husband, Trent Zhu, rented to homeless, low-income and disabled veterans.
Because they’ve split the units into much smaller ones, the couple is able to provide these veterans with very cheap housing. However, city officials claimed the property was not zoned for this many homes, so they shut down the operation.
One of the most oft repeated phrases by those who advocate for the arrest and mistreatment of homeless people is, “why don’t you let them live in your house?” But many folks actually do try to take in homeless people to help them get back on their feet — an act many governments consider unlawful.
TFTP has reported on countless instances in which good Samaritans have been fined or threatened with arrest for taking in those in need. In some cases, churches who let homeless families live on their property, have been shut down and the pastors threatened with jail.
As stateless solutions rise up to fix the problem of homelessness — without costing the taxpayer a dime — the state comes in to thwart them. And, as this proposal illustrates, the only solution that state proposes to replace it is force. If police violence against the homeless — without this law — is any indicator, it will not end well.
As TFTP reported, however, at least one state is proposing a viable solution to their homeless problem. The Bridge to Work program started in April of 2018 in Little Rock, Arkansas and pays homeless individuals $9.25 an hour to pick up trash and clean the capitol city of the state.
Canvas Community Church runs the program which was only slated to last 6 months. But it was so successful, it continued.