Friday, 5:00. Odd time? Yes. There is a method to our “madness”. Come find out what it is!
EVENT: STOP CRIMINALIZING HOMELESSNESS
WHEN: Friday, March 8 at 5:00pm
WHERE: In front of the City County Building
WHY: Madison and Dane County must stop enacting and enforcing policies that deliver crushing outcomes for our homeless brother and sisters!
March is going to be a bad month for persons without homes seeking services in our community. There will be a huge increase in the number of people forced to live on the street and face the harsh policies enforced by police. These policies are designed to hide homeless from view, but the truth is that homeless people still don’t have any place to legally sleep besides the shelter.
- As of March 10th there will be 150 men in Madison who won’t be able to go back to shelter until November 1st unless it is colder than 20 degrees or there is extreme weather.
- On March 17th, Dane County will evict over 20 homeless people from Token Creek campground. Legal camping will not resume until April 16th.
- On March 31st the Day Warming Center (and all the supportive services that go with it) will close indefinitely until a new place is found.
- A permanent or temporary bans in the shelter means freezing to death, no mail services, no bus tickets, no housing assistance. People can be banned for a number of reasons:
- Threatening bodily harm
- Repeated violations of rules
- Guests who misuse the shelter will be denied entry. “Misuse” is defined as: a) eating and leaving, b) using the name of another guest to register/ using a false name, c) any other falsifications to defraud or mislead.
This means people will return to the street – and return to getting ticketed by the police for sleeping in areas that are deemed inappropriate.
This means people will get tickets for public urination because there is only one porta-potty downtown that can be used after businesses close, and its location is not well-known or easily accessible.
This means that people will not have places to store their items during the day to go look for jobs and housing and to make appointments.
This means that 150 more men and 25 more Occupiers plus many others will be sleeping outside on the streets, in the parks and in your neighborhoods.
This means that the relationships and sense of community that have been built at the day warming center will be lost or weakened.
This means that access to bus tickets and daytime meals and warm clothes and a kind smile and listening ear will be harder to find.
We have seen a 45% increase in homelessness in the last 2 years. Twice a year there is a federally required “count” of homeless persons and in 2011 it was 573, in 2013 it was 831. It’s probably much higher because homelessness is largely under-reported. More info here: http://www.forwardlookout.com/2013/02/yes-homelessness-is-increasing/17245
Madison’s criminalization of the homeless means we are increasing the number of “criminals” by ticketing people for exercising basic freedoms that housed people take for granted every day. We are burdening taxpayers with jail costs ($82/person/night), while failing to help people who need services, not incarceration. They need solutions, not ultimatums. A hand up, not a hand out.
Come help us talk about the solutions! Help us get the attention of elected officials right in their front yard. Let’s show our homeless neighbors that the broader community looks out for all of its members.
MADISON STILL WANTS TO KNOW: WHERE WILL THE HOMELESS GO?
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