“Dumping” the Homeless in America

“Dumping” the homeless – is this the new American response to homelessness? The growing way we treat and look at those who are homeless in this country is disgraceful. There has been a lot of coverage about the Detroit Police Department “dumpling” the homeless in areas unfamiliar to them, all in an effort to clean up tourist areas.

Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a Department of Justice complaint against the Detroit Police Department. The ACLU has been investigating these reports after receiving complaints by individuals who had experienced this practice.

The officers are approaching, handcuffing and picking up those who they perceive to be homeless, and taking them away in a van or police vehicle. Once in the vehicle, the officers drive to a remote area far away from the familiar surroundings the homeless person is accustomed to. The officers take any money they possess and leave the individual stranded. Without a means to pay for transportation, individuals have no choice but to walk several miles back to their original location, sometimes having to travel at night, during freezing temperatures and through unsafe neighborhoods.

This practice is shocking in how those who are expected to uphold and enforce the law treat those who are most vulnerable in our society.

In 2011, the Tennessee Legislation and Governor took a similar approach to homelessness after being humiliated by Occupy Nashville, when they made it illegal to pitch a tent on publicly owned land. This was simply an attempt to hide the homeless problem in Nashville, at the doors of the state capital. Similar laws are popping up across “red” parts of the country.

When it comes to the homeless, people have the homeless (Not In My Backyard) complex. Countless organizations are increasing as those without homes in our cities, states, and country increase. Some go out of our way during the holiday season to help these organizations so that they will have adequate food, clothing, and monetary resources to provide for those who have fallen on hard times but many of these organizations are falling under increasing difficultly to help those in need.

On the other hand, we do not want these individuals in our backyards/neighborhoods. Just several years ago, the sheriff of Unicoi County had the idea to have inmates have a community garden to help provide food for the area homeless. The response of the citizens of Unicoi County was shameful. There was such uproar over the idea, that every site suggested, drew an increasing outcry from citizens.

They looked at these individuals as being “dirty,” “lazy,” and “dangerous/menaces” to society. Our society increasingly demonizes those in need. We want the homeless to receive help… just somewhere else.

”Dumping the “homeless reveals a disturbing lack of compassion about a growing segment of our society. In 2012, the Housing and Urban Development Department reported that 636,782 individuals were homeless in the United States. These figures show that America has increasing problems with individuals and families becoming homeless.

Is this injustice becoming the “norm” in America in regards to how we address the issue of homelessness?




Leave a Reply