Yale Law School urging lawmakers to end criminalization of homeless in Connecticut

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new report published by Yale Law School is urging lawmakers to end the criminalization of the homeless in Connecticut.

When a homeless person has nowhere to go that leaves them out in public having to sleep, eat, and bathe. Often times, these activities violate city ordinances.

Some of those ordinances across the State prohibit loitering, panhandling, sleeping in public places, and creating a shelter; which are the very things a homeless person would have to do in order to survive. Often times, breaking those ordinances leads to a fine, which they can’t pay. Then, they have to contest it in court, but they may not appear for a number of reasons. Failure to do so can result in a warrant for their arrest, and then jail.

So this Yale Law School Report is trying to make changes to the system. There are dozens of recommendations, but here are a few of them.

  • Adopt a local version of a Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights.
  • For police departments — Respect the right of a homeless person to use public spaces.
  • For the State – Provide financial support to cities and towns to develop alternatives to criminalization.
  • Provide a safe place for a homeless person to go if they’re forced from an encampment.

Again, these are just a few of the recommendations being made in this new report. Some argue while these are all good in theory, they don’t address the root of the problem.

Earlier this year, Governor Malloy has recognized the importance of this issue. He signed onto the national “zero: 2016” campaign — which pledges to eradicate veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of this year. It’s a work in progress, but the issues still affects hundreds of people throughout the state.

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