City Of Melbourne Bans Sleeping Outdoors In Crackdown On Rough Sleepers

Some political stances are pretty easy to find a way to justify – cracking down on homelessness punitively instead of with social services? That makes me scratch my noggin a little bit. But that’s what the City of Melbourne has been doing recently. 
After sending in an unfathomable amount of cops to evict rough sleepers from Flinders Street last week, they’ve furthered what seems to be a concerted attack on the city’s least fortunate by voting five-to-four to pass an amendment that would effectively ban anyone from sleeping outdoors.
The amendment is to the Activities Local Law 2009, which specifically bans camping in the city, “unless in accordance with a permit, a person must not camp in or on any public place“. The change voted on removed the qualifier that camping is defined as “in a vehicle, tent, caravan or any type of temporary or provisional form of accommodation” ˆ– effectively banning anyone from sleeping outdoors, which (surprise, surprise) will nearly 100% only affect rough sleepers.
The change was heavily criticised by Belinda Wilson, president of the Law Institute of Victoria:
“It’s being very harsh on vulnerable members of our community that need longer-term solutions.

“You need to look at underlying causes of homelessness: things like mental health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol.”
If that wasn’t already fucked enough, the changes also mean the council will be able to confiscate unattended items to be released back to the owners upon payment of a fee. This doesn’t seem fucking gross at all.
Chief executive of Launch Housing, Tony Keenan, said the changes would only put rough sleepers at risk:
“More risk of assaults, more risk of injuries, more risk of people dying on the streets.”
While the council has had their say, there’s still 28 days in which the amendment is open for public comment before the changes become final.
Source: ABC.
Photo: Getty Images / Scott Barbour.