Police in a small Louisiana city said they’re trying to curb homelessness and begging, but they’re doing it in an unapologetic way.
According to a report from an ABC affiliate, they arrested 59-year-old Franklin Jones, who asks for money near an intersection. They can’t arrest him for begging, but took him in for public intoxication and stealing a shopping cart.
However, when they searched his pockets, they found $800 in cash–meaning, he’s probably making a decent living via begging.
"There are people who feel these individuals all need to be arrested. Some feel they should offer help.”
“Transients, also known as beggars or homeless, are often a hot topic of debate for Slidell residents. There are people who feel these individuals all need to be arrested. Some feel they should offer help,” a Facebook post from the Sidell Police Department reads.
“Literally, every day, someone either calls Slidell Police or sends us a message on Facebook asking us to do something about this problem.”
Some people, who have offered help, spoke up.
It reads: “We continue to offer help, but when you can make $800 in less than a week by “begging”, some people say, “Why get a real job?” We’ve found jobs for people. We’ve offered assistance by bringing some of these individuals to rehab facilities. Bottom line is, it’s up to the individual person if they want help or not. All we can do is guide them in the right direction. We can’t force people to do [a] thing.”
“Slidell Police does their best to address these issues by following the letter of the law and ensuring that no one’s rights are violated. There is no easy solution to this problem, and quite frankly, it is a much bigger and deeper issue than strictly a police matter. We hope this sheds some light for our Slidell residents and hopefully answered any questions or concerns about this issue.”
However, as a result of the department posting up photos of Jones on Facebook, people said it amounted to social media “shaming.” Later, the department took the posts down.
LA Homeless Problem
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said that there are more than 52,765 homeless individuals, sheltered and unsheltered, in the city as of May 2018.
In six years, the homeless population has surged, according to data from the LAHSA.
Between 2010 and 2017, “The number of homeless people across Los Angeles County went from 38,700 to over 55,000, an increase of 42 percent. Many factors contributed to such large increases in homelessness, including Los Angeles County’s housing supply issues,” the data says.
Meanwhile, a 2017 report by the California Housing Partnership (CHP) found that “median rent in the county has increased by 32 percent over the past two decades while renter median decreased by 3 percent (adjusting for inflation) over the same time period,” the group said.
“This is particularly significant given that over half of Los Angeles County residents are renters. Furthermore, CHP estimates that LA County needs an additional 568,000 affordable housing units in order to meet the demand of its lowest-income renters.”
The LA Times says that three out of four homeless people live in campers, tents, cars, lean-tos, and other makeshift shelters.
“We are moving more homeless families and adults into housing,” Phil Ansell, director of the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative, told the paper. “What we have less control over is the inflow: people who simply are unable to pay the rent.”