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Tell Madison Government: Stop Criminalizing Homelessness!!!

This petition had 107 supporters

In August, the Department of Justice announced that keeping poor people in jail because they cannot afford to pay bail is unconstitutional, violating the 14th amendment. Last summer, they argued that punishing homeless people for conducting survival activities -- like sleeping -- in public spaces is unconstitutional under the 8th amendment. DoJ, HUD, and other federal agencies are urging local communities not to criminalize behaviors associated with homelessness.

Yet, people experiencing homelessness in Madison are regularly ticketed for things that, for lack of home or shelter, they cannot do in private. This summer, police issued tickets to homeless people for sitting on concrete planters at the top of State Street. These citations make sitting, on public property, a punishable offense. And at $439, these tickets are almost certain to remain unpaid. Even if a homeless person had the $439, paying for food, shelter, and other basic needs should come first.

Some homeless people accumulate thousands of dollars in tickets for addressing their basic human needs. For this, they can be arrested -- and jailed, unable to pay bail, either. Tell Madison government and law enforcement it is unacceptable to criminalize homelessness in these ways!

Join Operation Welcome Home and its partners in calling for an end to these unconstitutional practices. Specifically, we demand a) a halt to the issuance of citations for ‘occupying a planting area,’ loitering, public urination, and other crimes of homelessness, and b) the removal of charges from homeless people who have been ticketed for these citations.

Today: Whitney is counting on you

Whitney Gent needs your help with “Tell Madison Government: Stop Criminalizing Homelessness!!!”. Join Whitney and 106 supporters today.