This week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals ruled that prosecuting homeless people for sleeping outside might be a violation of the United States Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.
According to U.S. News, the Portland, Oregon- based appeals court stated that when homeless shelters had too few beds, “sitting, lying and sleeping on the streets was an ‘unavoidable consequence’ of homelessness, and it would be an Eighth Amendment violation for cities to punish that conduct when their shelters had too few beds.”
The court also stated that : “As long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a legal complaint against Facebook stating that the social media network allows landlords and home brokers to place ads on their site based on “gender, disability, religion, and physical location.” [SOURCE: Newsy]
HUD states that this is violation of The Fair Housing Act, which “prohibits discrimination in housing transactions including print and online advertisement on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.”
A congressional New York candidate recently tweeted the following about New York City: “For every one person experiencing homelessness here, there are about three vacant apartments.” The website Politifact decided to explore this statement and research its veracity. They found that the statement was pretty close to being accurate.
According to Politifact, there are approximately 63,000 homeless people in New York City; this number breaks down to about 32,000 households. The news source also states the following statistics from a 2017 Housing and Vacancy Survey:
Total rental units= 2,183,064
Vacant (available)= 79,190
Vacant units (not available for sale or rent)= 247,977
Held for occasional, seasonal, or recreational use= 74,945
Sold (not yet occupied)= 11,156
Undergoing renovation= 58,347
Awaiting renovation= 20,283
In legal dispute= 9,626
Held pending sale of building= 5,886
Owner’s personal problems (age, illness, etc.)
Held for other reasons= 27,009
Well-renowned financial guru, Suze Orman went through a period of homelessness during her young adulthood.
In her book, “The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke,” she recounts: “As I write this section, I am sitting in my south Florida home, staring out at the Atlantic Ocean. yet what keeps popping into my mind is the Ford Ecoline van I lived in when I first arrived in Berkeley, California, in the mid-1970s. Yes, yours truly lived in a van because I couldn’t afford to rent an apartment, or even a room. I couldn’t even afford the van; my brother loaned me the money for it.”