An interesting Washington Post article highlights a recent argument by the US Department of Justice. The matter came up as a result of a city ordinance in Boise, Idaho where sleeping in public was banned. The DoJ argues that such a ban is unjust especially where individuals have no other option.
This is the rub of the issue: such bans, like our own by-laws on public nuisance here in Cape Town, effectively render humanity illegal. Where no other option exists, the use of public space for essential human functions cannot be banned. Here in Cape Town street-based people are regularly arrested for urinating or sleeping in public despite the fact that ‘public’ toilets remain inaccessible to them and shelters are full.
This argument relates to Jeremy Waldron’s arguments on the problems of criminalising homelessness which you can read more about here.