homeless camps are “inhumane”?

The AP ran a story an hour ago releasing Merced’s City Council’s plan to raid and close all the homeless camps in  that violate the “No Camping” rule.  Supporters say that letting people stay outside when there are shelter beds available is “inhumane”.  Homeless Service Workers in the area don’t believe that there are enough shelter beds to hold all of the “campers”.

– Personal viewpoint – Can we recognise that people who only have camps and tents to live in are NOT CAMPING – that is where they live. Camping just makes it seem temporary and voluntary.

Is there a plan to transition people into shelters, and what about those who don’t want to stay in a shelter – will they be arrested and criminalized?

I totally get not wanting to see people sleeping in parks and living long term in the elements – for health and safety and just because it makes me feel bad to see it – however: I don’t know that this overly simplistic approach is the best one.

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The Associated Press

Posted: 05/04/2010 01:05:45 PM PDT

Updated: 05/04/2010 01:05:46 PM PDT

 MERCED, Calif.—Homeless people in Merced have six months to leave their camps or face arrest.The City Council adopted that deadline on Monday night when it voted 4-3 to enforce Merced’s no-camping law. The city plans to close its 35 or so homeless encampments within that time and to prosecute people who continue living in unauthorized areas.

The three council members who opposed the move favored a one-year schedule.

The plan’s supporters argue that letting people stay outdoors without services is inhumane when there are shelter beds available for the homeless.

Shelter workers dispute the city’s claim that there are enough resources to accommodate the people who will be displaced from the camps.

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