Why Is There A War On Black Unhoused People?

protest for jordan neely's death
Zain Murdock
July 25, 2023

Nationwide, legislation has targeted unhoused people, cut funding for social services, and expanded police power. Police and civilians have brutalized unhoused people, and politicians have endorsed sweeping our community members off the streets. 

Meanwhile, killings of unhoused people like Black trans organizer Banko Brown and Jordan Neely become breaking news. But why?

The state often sets up unhoused people, especially Black unhoused people with mental illnesses and disabilities, as a scapegoat. The media also alienates unhoused people, portraying them as aggressors. But that’s not reality.

Actually, unhoused people are statistically more likely to be victims of violence. Individually, we can combat that narrative by supporting mutual aid and learning violence prevention strategies in our communities. But this isn’t an individual problem. 

This country’s organized abandonment is to blame. Multiple systems cause a cycle of suffering, all ignored in favor of more policing.

For example, housing needs to be available for everyone and it can be. The criminalization of poverty, drug use, and disability can also end. Employers can pay higher wages. The healthcare system can be more accessible and not perpetuate anti-Blackness and ableism.

This won’t happen overnight. But we have the power to imagine and advocate for the quality of life we deserve. What else do you think needs to change?