Homeless Rights in the United States

Dear Mr. Governor,

I thank you for taking your time to read this letter, which is about an issue that is increasingly becoming pressing in the United States, the issue of violating the rights of homeless people. The situation of homeless people in the United States is getting more and more complicated over the past few years. This affects the image of the country in the face of world community and is simply inhuman. Current legislation on homeless people’s rights and duties violates the fundamental human rights, thus it needs improvement.

Please consider the universality accepted fact that most homeless people never wanted to appear in this saddest situation and fought a severe battle for their well-being but they lost. Every person deserves a second chance, there are no people who do not know what it means to fall down and sadly many people will not rise up. However, the people entrusted with authority are to be high-minded and high-hearted to offer their help to the afflicted ones and I strongly believe in your dignified reputation, Mr. Governer.

In fact, homeless people are evidently the category of afflicted people who appeared to be such ones not on their own desire. Due to the severe economic difficulties during the few past years the issue is becoming more and more burning one. (“Do not handcuff the poor and homeless” 1). And the saddest fact in this situation is that this problem is not far away from the right-minded citizens. The next experience is just one sad situation in life of decent American citizens to show how close everyone can be to becoming homeless. In 2008 Terry Bailey and his family of his wife and two underage sons lived in Montana. The man worked as a truck driver for construction enterprises. However, in the period of severe economic crisis the construction work dried up and the Baileys had no income. “We are hard-working human beings that just can’t make enough money to survive,” Bailey said. Thus, the whole family joined the rows of homeless people (Oppmann 1). In fact, people may lose their living places on numerous reasons including first of all economical ones, frauds, natural disasters, former imprisoning, family violence causing underage children to flee from their homes and become homeless and many more reasons. Taking into consideration all the above mentioned reasons it is no wonder that according to numerous surveys held in the past years around 30 % of respondents are afraid to become homeless.

It is extremely sad to realize that more and more homeless people are robbed of their human rights and are far of being treated as human beings. One of the most important civil rights of homeless people which has been violated is the right to have a place to live in itself (Head, p. 1). The United States has signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states in Article 25 that “housing is fundamental human right” (Head, p. 1). “The challenges poor and homeless Americans often face accessing clean drinking water and restroom facilities violate international human rights standards.” (Ross, p. 1). Homeless people are also often arrested for “loitering” even if they are waiting for a bus in the bus station. Citymayors explains the situation: “Even though most cities do not provide enough affordable housing, shelter space, and food to meet the need, many cities use the criminal justice system to punish people living on the street for doing things that they need to do to survive. Some cities have even enacted food sharing restrictions that punish groups and individuals for serving homeless people.” Homeless people are also often exposed to violence due to their being unsheltered and thus unprotected (Wachholz, p. 141). The New York Times reports that a lot of hate crimes against the homeless were perpetrated in the United States in 2009 with 433 cases leading to death. California and Florida had the highest number of deaths. Most perpetrators of the crimes were young men starting at the age of 12 years old. (p. 10). Homeless people are also subjected to the evil propaganda. Numerous public sources represent them as social wickedness, public image menace and people to be effaced. For example, special video games promote the idea to the youngsters. These games depict the homeless as worthless people who should be attacked and killed so that they can go away from the midst of other people (National Council for the Homeless, p. 12).

It is evident that laws criminalizing homeless not only contradict fundamental human rights but do not solve the problem, more than this the problem is even getting worse. In such situation, my concern is to encourage your attention, Mr. Governor on the need to make a revaluation on the laws on homelessness. Of course, those laws should still promote the interests of business and society but in combination with this important factor laws on homelessness should be more human ones to the affected people and guarantee their fundamental human rights. In addition, laws on homelessness contradict the 8th and the 14th Amendments thus violating the state Constitution which is highly inappropriate for the United States known all over the world as the most democratic state. This is one more reason to consider for developing a better legislation regulating the rights and duties of homeless people.

Of course, homeless people appear to be difficulty for business people of the area they stay in and simply harm the city public image. In addition, they make their situation even worse begging for money and food from passersby. However, numerous surveys among American citizens prove that the society did not lose its compassion towards the homeless ones. Thus measures can be taken in order to organize specific places for them to be located where they would not occupy any business territories and thus affecting the image of the territory. These people should be offered a second chance to work for their well-being and the legislative basis for this.

All in all, homeless people’s rights are severely violated in the United States. Current legislation on homeless people’s rights does not offer all due respect to the fundamental human rights, thus it needs improvement. As a decent citizen I am addressing you to turn your attention to this extremely important issue. Homeless people are the same human beings like you and me and they deserve having basic human rights. Mr. Governor, American people have entrusted you with the responsibility of representing them in the government. I want to thank you again for taking part of you time to read this piece that comes from the heart of your people. I kindly urge you to take the firm initiative of presenting these issues to the government through the relevant authorities.

Sincerely, Concerned Citizen

Works Sited

  1. “Do not handcuff the poor and homeless.” citymayors.com. citymayors, n.d. Web. 2011.
  2. Head, T. “Rights of the Homeless.” Civil Liberties. Web. 2011.
  3. National Council for the Homeless. “Hate Crimes Against The Homeless: America’s Growing Tide of Violence.” National Council for the Homeless, 2010.
  4. New York Times. “Killings of Homeless Rise to Highest Level in a Decade.” nytimes, 2010.
  5. Oppmann, P. “Homeless find temporary haven in tent camps.” CNN. 2009.
  6. Ross, J. “U.S. Cities Criminalize Homelessness, Violate Human Rights Agreements.” Huff Post Business. 2011.
  7. Wachholz, Sandra. Hate crimes against the Homeless: Warning-Out New England Style. Journal Of Sociology And Social Welfare, Volume XXXII, Number 4. 2005