Washington state Sen. Curtis King (R-Takima) recently proposed not allowing homeless shelters, or even organizations that serve the homeless, to be located within 1,000 feet of a school. The reason apparently is to keep children from being exposed to alcohol or marijuana use (dispensaries and liquor stores are also beholden to the 1,000-feet rule).
In San Francisco and Denver, homeless advocates are facing off with city officials who destroyed tent cities, demanding that the city offer more social services for the homeless. In San Francisco, sweeps during inclement weather prevented people from sleeping in public areas even though the homeless shelters were full and the homeless had nowhere else to go.
Some observers see the homeless as “less than” and a target for blame for violent crimes. Yet those who are homeless are much more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators. The most visible homeless – those who panhandle on the streets – are only a small portion of the total homeless population.