by MADDY HEESZEL
Last month, the city of Visalia released a new law stating that homeless could no longer push around their belongings in shopping carts. Police now have the right to fine homeless $50 for having a cart. Homeless people are given the option to either store their personal items at a rescue mission or store them in a large trash bag given by the city.
It’s understandable that Visalia officials would want to prevent stores’ carts from being taken and would want to find a way to make our city to look more presentable, but a $50 fine for a homeless person? How would they even be able to pay the fine? This new regulation is useless considering that the majority of homeless people would not be able to afford to pay the fines. Could there be a better way to approach this situation?
In this case, charging fines would not be any help and would only cause more issues. More and more homeless people would be unable to pay the $50, and it would cause more trouble for them and for our city. A homeless person is homeless for a reason; they have little to no money, therefore, they most likely won’t be able to pay the fines that they are charged. They are fighting for their life with the little money that they do have, and they shouldn’t have to pay $50 of which they can’t afford.
Instead of punishing homeless for taking carts, should we find alternatives? Yes, the city is providing trash bags for them so they can carry their belongings, but they’re still taking it as far as to charge them ridiculous fines that they don’t even have the money for. How could we fix this situation?