Friday, September 20, 2019

Homeless Americans Essay -- essays research papers fc

In our current time of economic prosperity in the United States, many people are enjoying greater wealth, higher earnings, and profitable investments. Unemployment rates are reported to be low, and wages high. Yet there is still an extraordinary amount of homeless people living in the United States. In an article entitled â€Å"The Criminalization of Homelessness† Celine-Marie Pascale tries to convey how the homeless are being treated unfairly by society. Criminalization might be a little too strong a word to apply to the punishment of homeless people, but Pascale is trying to make a statement about the homeless situation in the United States today. I would like to take a closer look at this article and examine the points she is trying to make. Pascale begins her article by stating that many U.S. cities are enacting laws which would punish homeless individuals for doing things many ‘ordinary’ people do all the time. For instance, loitering or sleeping in public (320). She states that the California Homeless and Housing Coalition estimates that there are around a million homeless people in California alone. Eight self governed cities in southern California and at least one city in northern California passed anti-sleeping laws, says Pascale (320). Another law in the city of San Francisco states that it is â€Å"illegal to linger for more than 60 seconds within 30 feet of an automatic teller in use† (321). The city of San Francisco spent a lot of time and money to arrest 15 people for begging in 1993 and Pascale alleges that there are several other major cities in the U.S. with similar laws (321). According to Pascale, Berkeley uses trespassing laws and loitering laws to keep people off the sidewalks and away from places like parks and laundromats. And in Santa Cruz you can be arrested for sitting on a sidewalk, sleeping outside, or even sleeping in a car (321). Pascale asserts that the reason for these laws is to protect the businesses located around these areas. She also says that â€Å"no one wants to run a guantlet of panhandlers to get to a boutique or step over people sleeping on the sidewalk to buy a cappuccino† (321). And for that reason, most business owners think it reflects badly on them if there are homeless people loitering or sleeping in front of their store (321). Pascale points out that, in general, most people believe that it is the individual’s fault tha... ... people who can’t seem to handle life’s challenges turn to crime just so they can go to prison because prison is an easy way out for them. You get free housing and free food for as long as you are there. Although this is not the case in many situations, there are some who would find this arrangement appealing. In â€Å"The Criminalization of Homelessness,† Pascale does a fair job of showing her audience that homeless people are not being treated very well. She informs us of the problem by giving cited statistics and specific examples, but she could have included more details to make her point stronger. Webster’s dictionary defines a criminal as someone who is found guilty of a serious offense by violating the law. Homelessness is far from a serious offense, and it is far from being treated as a serious offense. But she is right that we need to change the way we handle the homeless. In my opinion, Pascale’s article was more of an informative essay on the laws of some cities than a serious article about the problem in this nation concerning homelessness. Works Cited Begrens, Laurence; Rosen, Leonard J. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 7th ed. New York, Longman, 2000. 320-322.

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