- Virginia Beach City Council
- United States of America
The criminalization of Homelessness in the United States is seen within cities across the country including right here in Virginia Beach. The homeless population in Virginia Beach exceeds the number of available shelter beds in the city leaving many homeless individuals with no other choice but to sleep out in the streets. However, local laws prevent these people from ever being able to rest. (Code 1965, § 23-48), (Code 1965, § 23-48.1.1), and (Code 1965, § 23-48.1) prohibit anyone from sleeping in public places out in the open from 8:00pm to 8:00am or at anytime in automobiles or camper vehicles.
The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) estimates that approximately 19% of our homeless population have no option but to perform all their daily functions outside due to lack of housing and shelter. The NLCHP also reports that cities on average spend $87 a day to jail a person when it would only take $28 per day to provide them shelter. Punishing those without housing or shelter for sleeping in public is a violation of human rights and does not provide any real solution to the problem. U.N. Human Rights Committee has criticized the U.S. for criminalizing homelessness, stating that such “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” is in violation of international human rights treaty obligations.
These laws not are not only wasting limited local and state resources at taxpayers expense but are in violation of international human rights.
We, the undersigned, call on the Virginia Beach City Council to abolish the ban on sleeping and camping in public and allocate more funds to providing shelter to homeless individuals.
The Housing not Handcuffs petition to Virginia Beach City Council was written by Katrina Beasley and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.