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Indybay Feature
Thu Nov 16 2017 (Updated 11/19/17)
Fresno's No Camping Ordinance Criminalizes Homeless People
Thu Nov 16 2017 (Updated 11/19/17)
How Many Homeless Shelter Beds Are There in Fresno... and Why It Matters
Proponents of the recently passed No Camping ordinance in Fresno claim that homeless people who are sleeping on public and private property are doing so by choice. They say that if they wanted to get off the streets, there are plenty of places for them to go. They suggest homeless people should go to the Fresno Rescue Mission or the Poverello House.

Homeless advocates say there are too few shelter beds and that the ordinance essentially criminalizes poverty. They claim that there are not enough homeless shelter beds for the number of homeless people on the streets of Fresno.

This matters because a lack of shelter space would make it impossible for all of the homeless people in Fresno to comply with the law and avoid arrest, even if they wanted to do so. And, there have been some legal rulings that say it is unconstitutional to arrest a homeless person for sleeping at night if the option of staying at a shelter is not available.

Depending on who you ask and how you define a shelter bed for the homeless, the number is between 180 and 260. One reason for the different numbers could be that the Tool Sheds at the Poverello House are not technically suitable for human habitation, so they may be counted by some sources but not others. If you were to house a family member in a tool shed, like the ones used at the Poverello House, you could be arrested for child endangerment or elder abuse.

Read More | imc_calendar.gifTrans People and Allies Unite Against Homeless Ban (Friday, November 17)

See Also: imc_photo.gifThe City of Fresno Destroyed the Only Shelter These Homeless People Had (2013)

Related Features: Direct Action in Support of Fresno's Homeless Community | What It Is Like to Be Homeless in Downtown Fresno
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