Let’s end the criminalization of homelessness

By Palmdale resident Arlet Olivares

HomelessnessLast night in California, 160,000 homeless people spent their night on the streets, according to Housing Urban Development (HUD). 13% of those individuals were children (HUD, 2013).

Twenty percent of the entire homeless population in the United States lives in California, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), making it the state with the largest homeless population in the country.

Unfortunately, the state of homelessness will always be a social and economical issue that cannot be easily diminished.

However, Tom Ammiano in D-San Francisco proposed the AB 5 Homeless Bill of Rights and Fairness Act on December 12, 2012. The bill may eliminate criminalization for people sleeping, panhandling and salvaging recyclables.

They will also have the right to lawful self-employment, which may increase the chances of breaking the cycle of homelessness.

With the AB 5 bill, the homeless families may live healthier lifestyles with shelter and money and may also be cost-efficient because the need for homeless assistance programs may decrease, ultimately saving taxpayers $2.9 billion that is already used to incarcerate the homeless in California (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2013).

Helping rather [than] constantly ticketing the homeless is cheaper and not to mention is a moral standard for the human people to help our fellow neighbors.

Helping pass the AB 5 Homeless Bill of Rights can make a difference and help those that do not have a voice. For more information about the AB 5 bill, please visit:


Arlet Olivares, of Palmdale, is completing a master of social work degree at the University of Southern California. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.

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  1 comment for “Let’s end the criminalization of homelessness

  1. Otis
    August 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    The real cost of putting band-aids on the problem of homelessness…”Million Dollar Murray” remembered:


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