Texas is About to Criminalize Being Homeless
Governor Gregg Abbott has already signaled that he is ready to sign H.B. 1925. That’s the legislation that would make it a fineable offense to “camp out” on public lands (also known as “being homeless”).
Via Twitter Abbott said, “One step closer to my desk for signing! Thank you” in reference to the bill.
The bill would not allow jail time as punishment but would permit a $500 fine for people camping on public property, including parks, sidewalks and at bridges and overpasses.
How would fining a homeless person $500 even work?
COP: You can’t sleep here in the park. That’s a $500 fine. What’s your address?
HOMELESS GUY: Uh…this bench, I guess.
COP: I mean your HOME address.
HOMELESS GUY: I don’t have one. Why do you think I’m called “Homeless Guy” in this hypothetical scenario?
So, what would you do if you’re a homeless person and this law goes into effect? That’s a really important question because when you see somebody sleeping on the steps of the public library it’s probably a safe bet that they’ve exhausted their other options. What do you tell them?
“Hey, you! Don’t be homeless anymore! And, while you’re at it, quit having mental health and substance abuse issues that have put you on the streets!”
Yeah, if there’s one thing that’s going to inspire the homeless to get off the streets it’s got to be fining them $500 they definitely DON’T have. And what happens when they don’t pay the fine? Add ANOTHER fine on top of the one they already can’t pay?