Thanksgiving is just a few days away, the first in a series of winter holidays followed by Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For many people, including some registrants, they will spend those holidays in a sleeping bag on a public sidewalk. In a tent under a bridge. Or in a car if they’re lucky.
Although some of those registrants have a low-income job or government assistance, they cannot find a place to live. Why? Not because they can’t afford it, not because of COVID-19, but because of a different kind of virus. That virus is called “Crime Free Housing” and it’s a virus for which there is no vaccine.
The Los Angeles Times called attention to the “Crime Free Housing” virus on its front page this week. The newspaper continued its description of the horrors of that virus on two subsequent pages.
According to that article, cities and counties throughout the nation are now boasting they can provide “Crime Free Housing” to their residents. In California alone, there are 147 cities and counties that do so.
The basic foundation of “Crime Free Housing” is that everyone who has been convicted of, or even charged with, a crime cannot live in that city or county. Why? Because “those people” are criminals who are likely to re-offend and worse yet, attract criminal activity into the city or county where they reside.
The San Diego County handbook for “Crime Free Housing” compares people charged with, or convicted of, a crime to weeds. The same weeds we find in our yards and gardens if we are lucky enough to have them. The handbook goes on to state that a “single weed quickly overtakes an entire garden.”
The handbook also calls individuals charged with, or convicted of a crime, “predators” and compares them to a hungry lioness stalking her prey. According to the handbook, the “two-legged urban breed of predator, the criminal, works the same way.”
The only way to eradicate and prevent both weeds and predators is to establish screening policies that prevent “criminals” from obtaining housing, according to the handbook. The handbook then warns landlords and property managers of possible screening pitfalls such as race, ethnicity, etc. But it’s okay to discriminate against a person who was charged with, but not convicted of, a crime especially a sex offense?
Having just learned about “Crime Free Housing”, I am not ready to recommend a course of action to get rid of it. There may not be a vaccine for “Crime Free Housing”, but there is sure to be a legal remedy. In the meantime, know that many cities and counties, landlords and managers, are displaying signs stating that they provide “Crime Free Housing.” If you are a registrant and see such a sign, beware and know that you are not welcome…..for now.
– by Janice Bellucci / Janice’s Journal