[URBANTH-L]NEWS: What's the Meanest City (in the US)

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Sun Jul 19 22:20:53 EDT 2009

What's the Meanest City?
by Dollars and Sense
July 15, 2009

Los Angeles is #1, according to The National Law Center
on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) and the National
Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) -- #1 in criminalizing
the homeless. The two organizations released a report on
Monday analyzing how cities target homeless people, such
as laws against sleeping, eating, or sitting in public

[moderator: the full report may be found here-

The report, titled "Homes Not Handcuffs," includes
information about 273 U.S. cities. It also ranks the top
10 U.S. cities with the worst practices of criminalizing
homelessness. Top 10 lists are always easier for the
mainstream media to comprehend, so that's been the story
for the few media outlets that have covered the report
(Reuters reporter Steve Gorman's article is the best
we've seen so far; it's also republished on Common

The full report explains how the growing numbers of
urban homeless have been targeted for criminalization,
how their civil rights have been violated in some cases,
and detailed summaries of legal cases against some of
the most abusive anti-homeless laws.

And in case you want to know, the "Top Ten Meanest
Cities" are:

1. Los Angeles, CA 
2. St. Petersburg, FL 
3. Orlando, FL 
4. Atlanta, GA 
5. Gainesville, FL 
6. Kalamazoo, MI 
7. San Francisco, CA 
8. Honolulu, HI 
9. Bradenton, FL 
10. Berkeley, CA


    On June 12, 2007, Berkeley's City Council
    unanimously passed the "Public Commons for Everyone"
    initiative to "clear the streets of aggressive and
    disruptive behavior." This law targets a wide range
    of behavior, including lying on or blocking the
    sidewalk, smoking near doorways, having a shopping
    cart, tying animals to fixed objects, littering,
    drinking in public, public urination and defecation
    and shouting in public. ... Osha Neumann, an
    attorney who defends homeless individuals, told
    Indybay.org that homeless people are frightened by
    these measures and many are thinking about leaving
    town. He also indicated that funding for meals and
    other services for homeless people have been
    reduced, and there are not enough shelter beds.

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