NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Starting July 1, people today suffering from homelessness who rest on state-owned land could encounter jail time and significant fines.
The controversial legislation has numerous folks anxious about the unhoused community in the space. That is why numerous individuals gathered at Legislative Plaza for a rally and march to Commerce Street Park. Some advocates are scheduling on sleeping overnight at the park to deliver a information to lawmakers that homelessness need to not be a criminal offense.
The group Open Desk Nashville arranged the protest. The new law can make it a felony to camp on general public property and could lead to up to 6 a long time in jail and countless numbers in fine. It also tends to make it a misdemeanor to camp less than state bridges and overpasses.
The legislation expands the Equivalent Accessibility to General public Residence Act of 2012 to apply the offense of unauthorized camping on neighborhood government properties. This similar legislation died in the legislature in 2021, though it handed the House. Its counterpart in the Senate only obtained 1 vote last year.
“People today are fearful there is a great deal of uncertainty. There is a deficiency of interaction frequently from people at the major who are generating these conclusions who are not in close proximity to persons who are going through homelessness,” resource coordinator for Open up Desk Nashville, Chase Cate, stated.
Howard Allen was homeless for 17 many years and lately moved into everlasting housing. He claimed this bill targets men and women like him.
“District Lawyer Glenn Funk says he is not heading to prosecute what the condition does. We never know. But know we bought nowhere to go. So you know, they’re likely to make it more durable when you give us a $3,000 fine. 6 a long time in the penitentiary — the taxpayers are going to have to pay out for it. When we get out you might be generating it awfully, awfully tricky to get a work,” Allen reported.
Folks in help of the legislation claimed stricter punishments are a person way to stop town parks from getting overrun by folks encountering homelessness. As the homeless populace grows, they feel it truly is a person way to offer with the circumstance.
Allen claimed the combat to shield the unhoused is just commencing.
“Oh the extra fat woman has not sung. Check out us, look at us,” he stated.