Making the homeless illegal?

Denver officials will decide today whether a solution to the problem of homeless people is to make it illegal.

The City Council is voting today on an ordinance that bans eating, sleeping and storing personal possessions on public or private property without permission. It includes using a blanket as shelter.

Says the Associated Press:

Denver’s proposed ban reflects a national trend of crackdowns on homeless people and is more sweeping than most because it applies to all public and private land, 24 hours a day, said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

“This is exactly not the way that cities and governments should be responding to homelessness,” she said.

The Law Center estimates as many as 3.5 million people are homeless nationwide.

It costs less to get the homeless into housing than it does to jail them, Foscarinis said. And a ban in Denver could make it harder for people to escape homelessness because an arrest record can shut them out of jobs, she said.

Maybe they can go to St. Louis where this morning Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center announced plans for a two-acre tent city. It comes after the city shut down homeless encampments along the Mississippi.