SC Capital's Plan for the Homeless: Ban Them
Those who won't leave downtown will face jail
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2013 2:55 AM CDT
Updated Aug 26, 2013 9:42 AM CDT
Aggressive policies targeting the homeless have sprouted in cities across the country over the last few years.   (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

(Newser) – South Carolina's capital city has approved a plan to rid its downtown of the "scary" homeless people officials fear might prevent Columbia from becoming a regional economic hotspot, the New York Times finds. Under a policy the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty calls an "extreme, highly disturbing example" of targeting the homeless, they will be offered three options: Go to the city's riverfront shelter (which will eventually be moved further from downtown; one councilman suggested a location 15 miles away), get out of town altogether, or go to jail.

The State notes that, per the plan, more police will patrol a 36-block area in the business district as well as the main access road to the shelter, and could make arrests under public nuisance laws that touch on things like loitering and trespassing; residents will also have access to a new hotline they could call if they spot a homeless person downtown. Homelessness in the county has surged 43% over the last couple of years, and could "erode the entire foundation of what we’re trying to build in this city," says the councilman who authored the eviction plan. But critics—including a homeless man who spoke at the lengthy council meeting where the plan was approved—say all policies like Columbia's do is shift the problem. Atlantic Cities sees another problem: The waterfront shelter holds just 240 beds, for an estimated homeless population of 1,500. (A plan involving the homeless in NYC is raising eyebrows as well.)

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Aug 28, 2013 3:14 AM CDT
They want to develop the downtown area, here's an idea; BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING, and train the homeless to help build it if they don't already have the skills to do it.
Aug 27, 2013 2:07 PM CDT
We can do better and we must. There should be a national forum, conference or whatever to at least address the problem.
Aug 27, 2013 10:51 AM CDT
Guantanamo of sorts for the poor, in short. what next, selling the homeless into slavery or to labs ?