17-33 Segment 1: Criminalization of Homelessness


In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that there were more than 500,000 homeless Americans on a given single night in January. The U.S. government currently claims that, while there are high rates of homeless Americans, the number is actually decreasing. Many experts challenge that claim, saying that homelessness is on the rise. This week we speak with Eric Tars, Senior Attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty; Scout Katovich, Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic at Yale University and Peggy Choudhry, Commissioner in Osceola County, FL about:

  • How the number of homeless individuals is increasing and why the published statistics don’t accurately represent the entire situation.
  • The criminalization of homelessness by passing local ordinances and the negative impact that these ordinances have on communities.
  • The Constitutional right violations of homeless individuals when bans and local ordinances are implemented.
  • The reasons that many homeless people are vulnerable to arrest and how this may impede rather than help them escape poverty.


  • Eric Tars, Senior Attorney, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

  • Scout Katovich, Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, Yale University

  • Peggy Choudry, Commissioner, Osceola County, Florida

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