Speakers: COMING SOON!
The criminalization of unhoused people has an unfortunately long history in the U.S. Since the 1980s, growing numbers of states and municipalities have enacted camping bans and similar legislation aimed at punishing loitering, begging, panhandling, and sitting/lying in public places. As more people have become unhoused, especially in the wake of socioeconomic turmoil caused by the COVID pandemic, tent cities have become increasingly common. In turn, lawmakers and law enforcement have responded by criminalizing, raiding, and destroying tent cities. In Austin, 2020’s Prop B made our home a very recent adopter of policies meant to criminalize the very existence of unhoused people, buttressed by Texas state legislation that rolls back funding for cities that do not enforce similar ordinances. In this panel, we will examine how providing services - direct aid, legal, and otherwise - for unhoused people has changed in the wake of the pandemic and in cities where these laws have been enacted.