Don't Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor?

New studies rank cities based on the extent to which they "criminalize homelessness."
July 20, 2009, 11am PDT | Larry Schooler
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The report looks at laws that directly affect homeless people--like anti-loitering laws and regulations banning camping in public spaces.

"It's tempting to look at other, less serious ways cities might be ranked among the most mean. Largest number of quick-changing yellow traffic lights, for instance. Or least garbage pickups per month. A great city, Aristotle said a while back, is not to be confused with a populous one.

The meanest cities, Foscarinis says, are cracking down on people for "living in public places and for begging and eating and for seeking assistance in public places. Some cities are also punishing organizations and some people who are trying to help by offering food to poor people in public places."

In other words: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. Just make sure they don't huddle and mass in public places."

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Published on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 in NPR
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