Presentation on theme: "Civil Rights for Homeless Persons. “Homeless” Individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence Individuals who have a primary nighttime."— Presentation transcript:
Civil Rights for Homeless Persons
“Homeless” Individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence Individuals who have a primary nighttime residence that is An operated shelter A temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized A place not designated for a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. - US Department of Urban Housing and Development
The New Hate Crime? DGp68
What Is A Hate-Crime? “Bias-motivated violent crime” typically targeting victims on the basis of their membership to a certain social group Is violence against a homeless person a hate-crime?
How Many Americans Are Actually At Risk? 1.6 million homeless in US Out of 36 million Californians, 170,000 are homeless In California, 18% of homeless are veterans In California, 20-25% of homeless individuals suffer from mental illness Approximately 30% identify as LGBT
Is Violence Against The Homeless Really A Problem in the US? 1,184 bias-motivated assaults 312 homeless lost their lives Violence reported in 47 states 75% of attackers under age 25 88 % of perpetrators were male
Is Violence Against The Homeless Really A Problem in the California?
Where Hate/Assault Crimes Occur
This IS A Problem In California Second-highest rate of violence against homeless people 213 bias-motivated assaults in 48 cities 48 resulted in death Victims reported being set on fire, stabbed, shot, raped & beaten with baseball bats and golf clubs
Deaths From Bias-motivated Assaults Vs. Deaths From Assaults Against A Homeless Person 111 people killed based on their race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation 312 homeless individuals killed as a result of an assault
Discussion Question: Should an assault against a homeless person for being homeless be classified as a hate-crime?
California Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal Says HELL YES! So, she wrote AB 312…
Who’s Bonnie? Democratic Assembly Member 54 th District – Southern California (LA/Long Beach) Master’s in Community and Clinical Psychology
Bonnie also wrote the similar bill AB 2706 the year before… Then Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 2706 stating that it is unclear whether or not these people are specifically targeted because they are homeless.
What’s The Bill All About? The Ralph Civil Rights Act prohibits violence or threats of violence based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, political opinion and position in a labor dispute AB312 grants same civil protection for those with “status as a homeless person”
Who Supported It? United States Veterans Initiative California Peace Officers’ Association Consumer Attorneys of California California National Organization of Women California State Sheriffs Association People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) … and many more
Who Opposed It? None opposed.
What do you think was the fate of the bill?
What Happened? Vetoed by Jerry Brown August 5 th, 2011 “This bill [would create] new private and administrative enforcement remedies. It is undeniable that homeless people are vulnerable to victimization, but California already has very strong civil and criminal laws that provide sufficient protection.”
Can An Amendment Really Make A Difference? Florida (Highest rate) May 11, 2010 – Governor Charlie Crist signed state crime legislation which added “homeless status” Two years later….
Victim Ronald Poppo Age IQ Some College Perpetrator Rudy Eugene Age 31 Arrested 8x for Assault Mental Health Issues May 26, 2012 Miami, Florida Cannibal Attack Against A Homeless Person
Pros Protect civil rights of the homeless Encourage victims to pursue perpetrators Discourage violators from making assaults Damages awarded to victims Reduce violence against the homeless Cons Most homeless victims can not pay for a private attorney The homeless are already protected under current legislation for assault Opens the door to add any marginalized group to the Ralph Act
Discussion Question: Would such legislation have a more significant impact on violent crime against the homeless or administrative costs for law enforcement?