Kicking Out the Homeless in Downtown Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia made… for all the wrong reasons, of course. Yet, we’re the 5th best city to live in, according to Kipplingers. Hmm…


Finding ways to help the homeless population is one of the hardest problems any big city faces. However, one South Carolina municipality has found a cheap and easy solution: Out of sight, out of mind.

Under the “Emergency Homeless Response” plan (which can be read in full here), passed last week by the Columbia City Council, homeless-looking citizens in Columbia’s 36-block downtown area will be asked by police to move to a shelter on the outskirts of the city. Should the person refuse, theState reports, “they could be arrested under a range of public nuisance laws that include loitering, public intoxication, public urination, aggressive panhandling or trespassing.”

Coercing suspected homeless into shelter on the edge of town is just one of the plan’s controversial aspects. Once at the shelter, the potentially unwilling residents would be prevented from leaving except by specific appointment. The only approved way to…

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