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Homeless “Bill of Wrongs”

One of my favorite quotes comes from C.S. Lewis.   It reads as follows…

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

I bring this up because of efforts by Indianapolis City-County Councilmember Leroy Robinson to create a “Homeless Bill of Rights” (HBR).  For the record, Robinson was also the Councilor that introduced and ordinance that would have effectively mandated landlords take Section 8 tenants.

Under the HBR, the homeless would have the right to “move freely in public places”, the right to emergency medical care, equal treatment by city agencies and a “reasonable expectation of privacy” with their personal property.   In other words, rights many of them have right now.  But here is the kicker; it would also compel the city to help anyone it displaces from public property.  Remember the Davidson Street homeless camp?

Robinson’s logic, according to the Indy Star, is to prevent the “criminalization and demoralization” of the homeless.

Where do I start with this one?

First, homeless people have the same rights as the rest of us, no more no less.  You can be homeless, you just can’t infringe on others in the process.  Secondly, instead of creating new rules and a new government program, it would likely be better if the city just worked closer with agencies that deal with the homeless to get them the services that they need.   I suggest Outreach, Inc. which helps homeless teens and young adults.

In addition, these are same people who don’t want to do anything about the downtown panhandling problem which, in my opinion, is much worse than the homeless problem.

This HBR will do nothing at the end of the day to solve the homeless problem.  In fact, if it’s like a lot of other government programs of this type, we’ll just end up with more homeless people.


  • malercous

    Lessee, one can be homeless, just not on private or public property. Maybe they can levitate or tread water. I know the homeless have it too easy & live simply to offend the sensibilities of decent folks by their mere existence; I’m pretty sure even Jesus hated them. Maybe Republicans are onto something; Gov aid only encourages more people to be homeless (who doesn’t enjoy living outdoors in the winter?), so if we make their lives even worse they’ll quit being homeless. It’s not like they’re mentally ill or anything.