A fifty-something gent is causing a fuss in a nearby suburb by living out of his van in a library parking lot. Apparently, he’s not breaking any existing law, so get this: an ordinance is being drafted for the purpose of forcing him off the premises.
These types of urban anti-camping bylaw and ordinances are being passed or exist in many towns and cities in both the US and Canada. They target the homeless in vehicles (overnight parking restrictions) and the homeless on foot (who sleep anywhere, parks, under bridges, public spaces), essentially making it illegal to be homeless. Because the homeless numbers have grown exponentially in the last decade, homeless shelter capacities are overwhelmed, forcing people to sleep in the street with no alternative.
In Canada, such a anti-camping bylaw in Victoria, is being contested on the basis it is unconstitutional. The premise is that it is illegal to pass a law, which people have no choice but to break. The homeless on foot have secured the services of some pro-bono lawyers, and the law is being contested in Supreme Court of Canada, with the city, province & country as the defendant. If the law is overturned, it will set a common law precedent for the whole country. If the city had provided a space for a tent city, the lawsuit would have been avoided, like Portland, OR. But no, that would be logical.
One logical idea for the vehicular homeless is in Santa Barbara, CA. There is a program there which provides legal, safe and approved overnight parking for people in cars, vans and RV’s. They are licensed for specific lots, and are only allowed to sleep/park there from 7pm to 7am overnight, then the lots are used for regular business during the daytime. Otherwise the best that governing elders have come up is -‘move along’, go somewhere else. Wonder what they’ll do when the homeless count hits the millions, with this sector growing by over 30% annually.
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