File:Homeless Man.jpg

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

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You know when you read something, but then it’s so ridiculous you have to do more research to find out whether it’s actually true?

Case in point, a story this week about a South Carolina city which has taken steps to “exile its homeless.”

The story suggested the city council in Columbia, S.C., had unanimously approved an “emergency homeless response” plan which will ban homeless people from the central business district and authorize police to arrest any homeless person found within the no-homeless zone.

A hotline will be established for residents and merchants to report the presence of a homeless person to police, who will be obliged to move them along.

Surely that can’t be true, I thought.

Sadly, it is.

The council of Columbia will partner with a local charity to operate a 24-hour emergency shelter on the outskirts of town, however it’s unlikely the 240-bed shelter will be sufficient for the city’s estimated 1,500 homeless people. And once someone enters the shelter, they are not allowed to leave the premises unless they set up an appointment to be driven out by a van.

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