Unhoused People Helped By Defunding Police

Police car lights
William Anderson
February 9, 2021

Policing doesn’t stop people from being unhoused. Instead it just criminalizes it! People are arrested for being poor, evicted, or in need. This is just one reason it makes sense to do something different to help instead of punishing vulnerability.

The city of Austin, Texas has taken a step in the right direction. They’re defunding part of their police budget to do something to address poverty. They bought a hotel to turn into transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness - and this is a huge victory for a reason.

Police spending has skyrocketed to over a hundred billion dollars since the 1970s, even though there’s no proven correlation that this has led to a decrease in crime. This increase happens while cuts to social services and community resources are implemented!

Austin was right to cut its police budget, and other cities should be making similar moves. Police and prisons don’t stop crime, they just punish it. We know enough to understand that the issues that lead to these problems are deeper than this, and we can do what’s needed.

Although defunding the police has been portrayed as drastic, the brutality and death we experience at the hands of police is always deemed necessary. This demands we rethink everything about the criminal punishment system that’s only causing us harm - and take on new approaches.

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