Hey there Steemians!
I am writing today about events which happened yesterday on the hillside where I live.
Where I live there are no homes, there are no street lamps or sidewalks. There are deer trails and birds’ nests. There are overgrown patches of blackberries, there is poison oak, but there really isn’t much in the way of people.
The neighbors who I do have live over the hill. They are loud at night, they drink and do who-knows-what. We aren’t close.
We sometimes see each other along the trail, or at the bus stop. But for the most part we are not the same sort of people and as such don’t really talk or hang out.
During yesterday’s bus ride downtown I crossed paths with one of my neighbors. They asked me whether I had been posted. And let me know that all of the neighbors had been posted when four police officers on ATV’s came to camp.
When you have been “posted” it means that law enforcement or parks department workers have found your camp to be an illegal place of residence.
A posting gives the illegal camper as little as a day and as much as two weeks to vacate the campsite. Once the notice is given you are considered a criminal. It is then at the discretion of the officer to decide if they want to search you, or take you downtown.
The long and short of being posted is that you MUST break down your camp and leave the area. Once the grace period has expired, the city or state has the right to dumpster your possessions and ticket you for littering. They give you some time to show up at City Hall to put in a claim on your abandoned possessions. But again, it is up to the discretion of the workers what is considered trash, and what deserves to be stored as a abandoned possession. I have witnessed scenes of dump trucks and front end loaders destroying people’s “illegal residences”.
Consider for a moment that there are no safe, legal, accessible places of shelter for the people in this town.
The shelters which are here are designated for specific classes of people. If you are an able-bodied person you are largely on your own. This makes sense, that the shelter spaces be designated for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled. The difficulty arises around the fact that the people who are otherwise of no threat or harm to civil society are punished for being unable to fit into this broken economy.
I wasn’t posted yesterday. My camp is tucked away where the path is grown over. It looks like no one lives there.
You have to follow a deer trail, then wade through some brush to get to my camp. It’s not the sort of place most people want to go to. I select campsites like this intentionally to insulate myself from danger and police. And dangerous police. Sleeping at night in a camp near society means having to worry about the police waking you in the night. By pitching further out I am able to rest better at night. Still I wake up afraid of police, this despite the fact that I am a good human. I don’t thug-up on little old ladies, or rob corner stores.
Being homeless in the USA is a crime in many places. The people who have the least in life are consistently busted down further, having their possessions taken and the small bit of stability snatched from below us. For whatever reason, those who have the least seem to be punished
the most in Fascist America.
What are the solutions to homelessness? Will housing first ever fully displace incarceration first? Will we continue to allow our government to alienate and marginalize the people who are most at risk in our society? How do we address socially acceptable abuse of the poor?
Thanks for reading this far!
Proofreading credit: Steemit Creators’ Guild
Written with StackEdit.