The war on the homeless

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In the USA, the land of the free and the home of the brave, Philadelphia bans outdoor feeding of people in the city. Denver, Colorado, has bans on eating and sleeping on property without permission, and that could and will mean park benches.

Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City and more than fifty other big cities have adopted some kind of anti-camping or anti-food sharing laws. And neither Democrats nor Republicans will solve this problem. If you believe otherwise, I think, you are mistaken.

There was a time when we waged a war on poverty and not on poor people and this is not just the case in the USA.

In the UK the war on homeless people has taken another twist in that it is now a serious criminal offense – felony to our American cousins – to occupy an unoccupied building and make it into a home; squatting, as it is called here.

There was a time when it was perfectly alright, almost legal, to make a home in an empty property but that has become more and more an issue over time simple, I believe, because the various successive governments do no want to have the fact highlighted that there are thousands upon thousands of empty homes, that is houses and apartments, in this country. We don't even need to talk about empty properties in general.

There are enough empty homes in Britain to house the homeless in this country several times over and if we would consider other empty properties that many a squatter would be quite happily convert into a home then we could house probably many, many more homeless.

It is said that there are enough empty homes in the USA to house all the country's homeless and in addition all the homeless of Britain and Ireland, and that should tell us something. Namely that homelessness would not be necessary at all.

In the UK the homeless are still, though the term may be a little wrong, lucky as the feeding of them and supplying them with things that they need is not unlawful, as yet, but is even being encouraged by the authorities, in a way.

However, if all those empty – truly empty – properties would just be made available to homeless to squat in, to take over make into a home, there would be no homelessness and homeless people.

But, a little like being able to conquer unemployment by actually having people do the work that needs to be done, this is not in the interest of the capitalists.

Time to change the system...

© 2012