Homelessness has been an increasing problem in many areas of the country. Along with this, many of those whom are homeless are being arrested in alarming rates.
In an article from the Eugene Weekly, journalist Kenny Jacoby discusses the increasing problem of arrests made against the Oregon homeless population. He mentions at the beginning of the article that more than one in four of those arrested for minor crimes in Eugene are homeless. These charges are often times in an effort to decrease the cities homeless population, or to keep the community safe, some may argue. But many others are saying that the police department in Eugene and many places around the country are criminalizing homelessness. Many argue that these people are being arrested and cited for things that are out of their control, an idea which has driven this argument against high number of arrests made on the homeless population.
Many argue that making more arrests on the homeless population is simply adding to the problem. The article, nor the people who are mentioned within it, give specific ideas that could provide a solution to this problem, but some thoughts on how to help are given. Heather Sielicki, a member of Eugene’s City Homelessness work group was quoted saying, “If you’re spending that much of your police force on how it is, and it’s continuing not to work, you should weigh what it costs to provide actual services instead of just continued enforcement.”
Many call for an “alternative” approach to decreasing the homeless population, but many people think otherwise. Those against a new type of approach argue that it is a waste of tax payer money, and can really provide no actual help to those who are homeless.
An alternative approach to the homelessness problem could be the solution that many are looking for, and need. If government funding could be used efficiently, and logically, providing help for those who have no home would satisfy both sides of the argument. Providing a way out of homelessness rather than keeping people from staying at the bottom of the totem pole is the ultimate goal, and an alternative approach may be the solution.