A new report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty shows that since 2001, the United States has lost nearly 13% of its low-income housing. The survey looked at 187 US cities, and found that laws restricting the homeless have increased since 2009.homeless-in-america

The advocacy group’s report found that laws placing restrictions on begging, sitting and lying down in public and loitering have increased over the years. It also found that 18% of cities now ban sleeping in public, and 42% of cities prohibit sleeping in vehicles.

An overwhelming increase in homelessness can be tracked to the recession, and a widespread initiative to update and revitalize downtown areas of major cities has incited a crackdown on the homeless.

Some cities are taking steps to provide resources for the homeless, such as housing and other services, instead of criminalizing them. A city in Miami-Dade County, Florida raised money through a Homeless and Domestic Violence tax. There is also the National Housing Trust, which NLCHP has asked the US government to provide $3.5 million each year to increase affordable housing and prevent people from having to live on the streets.

“The federal government should play a leadership role in combating the criminalization of homelessness by local governments and promote constructive alternatives,” the report said.

 

 

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Martin Ackerman is a freelance writer and current editor originally from Staten Island, NY. His university schooling focused on English education and Japanese. He has a (not so secret) passion for art history and political science. When he isn't writing or editing you can find him at sci-tech conventions, building the latest LEGO city or pampering his cat, Tea. You can follow him on Twitter @MarMackerman.