The glaringly obvious fact of the matter is that the homeless of America are not treated equally to all the other citizens of America.
Because they have no money and often times no identification they have immediately lost all rights to legally live or even exist anywhere in our country. They have no rights. Any service or even place to sit is seen as a great gift from some kind and benevolent benefactor.
If you believe that every homeless person (or even most homeless people) have a place to go with shelters and churches you are misinformed.
Even if you believe the homeless have lost all their rights to freedom of religion and must succumb to mandatory prayer and church services in order to get a “free” meal and bed, shelters become filled. People are kicked out of shelters. There are a number of maximum days you can stay at a shelter if you aren’t in their approved “program.”
But it’s not just that homeless humans don’t have the same rights as other humans in America, homeless people don’t even have the same rights as animals.
In Akron even animals have rights built into the law.
92.051 – Neglect of animals.
No person who owns or keeps an animal shall fail to provide the animal all of the following needs:
Shelter from the elements, including heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or excessive direct sunlight. If the animal is housed outside, a structure for shelter and protection must be provided that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of that animal. The structure must be completely enclosed and insulated, having a single entrance/exit secured with a flap or door or similar device. The structure shall be moisture-resistant, wind-resistant, and of suitable size and type to allow the animal to stand, turn about freely, lie in a normal position, and regulate proper body temperature. The structure shall be made of a durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor and a floor raised at least two (2) inches from the ground. Suitable drainage shall be provided so that water cannot be reasonably expected to gather and stand within ten (10) feet of the structure, and so the animal has access to a dry area at all times. Proper bedding of straw or similar material, that remains dry, must be utilized inside the structure. All structures required by this section shall be subject to all building and zoning regulations.
How can it be that we have spent so much time in our laws thinking about the protection of our animals? But the poorest people in our community have not one single solitary right.
A city is “keeping” homeless. They are citizens of the city. Therefore they are the obligation of the city.
Cities of America are hoping no one thinks anyone should have to be responsible for the homeless people. How can it be that we are proud of our large Animal Control Facility to help homeless animals yet there is not one mention of how the county or the city are taking steps to help homeless humans?
They have fully outsourced homeless human help.
The 19,494 square foot state-of-the-art Animal Control Facility opened in August of 2010. Animal Control is a high performance green facility with administrative office space, an adoption zone, an intake area, outdoor visiting space, quarantine quarters, staff locker rooms, a veterinary clinic and more.
But a person who is responsible for an animal doesn’t have to simply house the animal.
They also are required by law to provide:
- Clean, potable drinking water at all times, and suitable food, of sufficient quality and quantity as to ensure normal growth and the maintenance of normal body weight;
- Food and water receptacles that are kept clean and disinfected, and located so as to avoid contamination by feces or other wastes;
- Regular exercise sufficient to maintain the animal’s good health;
- Necessary veterinary care;
Doing a search of the Code of Ordinances | Akron, OH | Municode Library shows exactly how much more we care about our animals than our homeless.
A search for the word “animals” produces 75 results including items like:
How many times do you think the times the homeless are mentioned in Akron law?
ZERO. Not one single time.
And quite honestly I sort of am glad.
When cities mention the homeless in the law it’s rarely a good thing. There are currently laws in other cities like:
- Restricting the public areas in which sitting or sleeping are allowed.
- Removing the homeless from particular areas.
- Prohibiting begging.
There is so much wrong with how we are treating the poor in America.
26 percent of all Akron residents now live below the poverty level.
42.5 percent of ALL kids in Akron live below the poverty level.
How can this be? How can we be drowning in poverty?
Truly, I’d like to deal with that issue too. But the way we treat our poorest of the poor, the way we treat people that make no money, have no medical care, have no food cards is brutal.
I can’t morally ignore the tragedy, the crisis, the monstrous way we ignore and abuse our poorest of the poor.
And here’s the thing. I’m not even asking the city to take care of the homeless. They clearly don’t think it’s part of their job description to care about them.
All I’m asking is that they let me take care of them for them.
It’s not convenient having to care for the homeless. I’m sorry it makes you feel uncomfortable. But I don’t care.
I would truly love to work together with you on solving the homeless epidemic in your city (as apposed to hearing passive aggressive rumors about what you think of me and what your plans are). I’m not irrational. I’m not obstinate. And I did not invent these people I’m caring for in my backyard. They were (and still are) festering in your city, under your bridges, in your woods.
But one way or another, we’re fixing the homeless problem in Akron. When we’re done every homeless person in Akron will have the right to live somewhere that is near their needed services and food.