This trend is nothing short of sickening. Earlier this year, Philadelphia decided to make it illegal to feed the homeless, and now Clearwater, Florida (infamous for its connections to Scientology) has decided to make it illegal to sit or lay down on sidewalks. Oh, it’s also been discouraging donations to local soup kitchens.
CLEARWATER — This city could soon outlaw a harrowing crime: sitting. Sitting or lying down on sidewalks or other public rights of way on Clearwater Beach, downtown or in the East Gateway neighborhood could mean a $500 fine, 60 days in jail or both. The sitting ban is among a flurry of new ordinances the City Council will consider Monday as part of its crackdown on homeless people.
The sitting ban is one of the most extreme proposals in a city already known for welding shut public bathrooms, turning off access to water in public areas and discouraging donations to a long-running soup kitchen.
But city leaders say the proposed ordinances, similar to bans enforced in St. Petersburg, San Francisco and Seattle, will give police more authority to clean up areas known for attracting the down-and-out.
It’s beginning to seem that, for homeless people, merely existing is a crime.