Wrote about sweeps in Cali for Fck Prison

On sweep days across California, people living in homeless camps collect all their stuff and move it to the other side of the street. Police and sanitation crews come in, clean up, and leave. Then, the homeless people pick their stuff up and go right back.

This is a slight improvement from previous years, when the sweeps would be completely random. But use of force is a concern whenever police plan to be around homeless people. In LA, where 36,000 of the state’s 150,000 homeless people live, 1 in 3 uses of force from police involved a homeless person in 2018, with a 26% increase in 2019. There is also an issue of potentially more low-level tickets and arrests. For example, any willful resistance of getting their stuff thrown out results in a $1000 fine or 6 months in jail.

The broader problem with these sweeps is in their ineffectiveness. They’ve been doing these sweeps since the 80’s without improvement in the lives or safety of the homeless population. Instead of shifting the focus towards permanent solutions, homeless people are scheduled for temporary displacement, which only adds to the trauma of living on the street.

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