Community Impact

Global Health

Strategic Communications

The inhumane criminalization of homelessness won’t solve the problem

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

May 4, 2024

TheHill.com

Body language from the U.S. Supreme Court suggests cities could soon criminalize the homeless as a way to address the growing problem of outdoor encampments. No one wants to be homeless, and everyone agrees something must be done — but inhumane approaches such as these won’t solve America’s housing crisis.  

Viewing homeless people as criminals for having nowhere to go reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of what we need to do to address a system that’s failed our country’s most needy constituency. …

City and federal officials have historically focused on treating the conditions of homelessness rather than addressing its pathways. Issuing citations or pushing the homeless down the road to another jurisdiction is akin to giving an aspirin to someone with a broken foot.  …

There is good news: a proven model already exists to reduce homelessness in America. It just takes a willingness on the part of Congress to fund it and make it a priority.