More than 600,000 homeless people live (survive) in the United States. The majority are male and “unsheltered.” Many are addicted to drugs; even more struggle with mental health issues. And in America’s truest-bluest cities —the major metropolitans with progressive policies —tent cities are tolerated. In some cases, they’re even a “solution.”
“In Los Angeles, city officials grappling with an ongoing homelessness crisis have turned to an idea that for decades was politically unpopular and considered radical: a government-funded tent encampment,” NPR reported last year. “Other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa, Fla., have opened similar programs in recent years. But the high public cost of LA’s first sanctioned campground — more than $2,600 per tent, per month — has advocates worried it will come at the expense of more permanent housing.”
“Permanent” is a policy Maryland Democrats are running with.
“A Democratic-backed bill in the Maryland statehouse would prevent police from enforcing Failure to Obey Lawful Orders laws, which critics say would permit homeless camps, known as ‘tent cities,’ on public property. The sponsor of the bill, Democratic delegate Sheila Ruth, said in a committee hearing that these tent cities are not harmful or dangerous to communities.”
“We shouldn’t be destroying homeless encampments,” Ruth said.
Baltimore City has about 2,000 homeless people in the city on any given night. Statewide, Maryland’s homeless population is more than 6,000. Ruth’s proposal does little but allow homeless Americans to continue to live in squalor, on public property, forever.
Republicans, not surprisingly, hate this idea.
“The last couple of years the focus of Maryland legislators has unfortunately been to treat criminals as victims and encourage breaking the law,” state senator Michael Hough told the Washington Free Beacon. Republican state senator Justin Ready said Ruth’s bill would “encourage vagrancy like they have in places like San Francisco.”
So we really doing this Maryland? Here’s a snapshot of what you can look forward to, from the Globe Post, describing a Minneapolis tent city: “At a tent city for homeless people in Minneapolis, the path is strewn with used syringes. Some are shooting up in the open. Dozens have been found unconscious. At least two have died.”
Syringes, overdoses, death —all get the greenlight in Maryland public spaces? You’re not helping these people, Ms. Ruth. You’re killing them.