Across the United States, local governments are moving to prevent outdoor camping by the homeless, according to advocates for the nation’s nearly 600,000 homeless, estimated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Government officials say they are trying to limit outdoor camping for the health and safety of the homeless and other residents. But homeless advocates say the bans are not a solution to homelessness and further stigmatize the poor.
Over a third of U.S. cities impose citywide bans on public camping, a 60 percent increase in such ordinances since 2011, according to a 2014 survey of 187 cities by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
More than half the cities surveyed, 57 percent, prohibit camping in certain public places. Such bans have climbed by 16 percent over the past three years, the study found.