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L.A. tops cities 'meanest' to homeless

July 15, 2009 at 10:20 AM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, July 15 (UPI) -- Los Angeles is the "meanest" city in the United States when it comes to the treatment of homeless people, advocates for the homeless say.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty asserted that the California city's adoption of ordinances "criminalizing" behaviors associated with homelessness, such as lying down on sidewalks, makes it the "meanest" city in the country toward those living on the streets, the group said in a release accompanying a report on the issue titled "Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities."

"Even though most cities do not provide enough affordable housing, and food to meet the need, many cities use the criminal justice system to punish people living on the street for doing things that they need to do to survive," the report's authors say.

Los Angeles topped the NLCHP's list for reportedly spending of $6 million per year to police the city's skid row while paying only $5.7 million for homeless services.

Also making the top 10 "meanest" cities list were St. Petersburg, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Atlanta; Gainesville, Fla.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; San Francisco; Honolulu; Bradenton, Fla.; and Berkeley, Calif.

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