Hostile architecture – we’ve been doing it to birds for years by placing spikes on window sills and lampposts. Now, cities everywhere are applying anti-homeless architecture to prevent homeless people from sleeping on their streets.
From installing spikes on sidewalks to locking up benches at night, the acts of cruelty are everywhere – and it needs to stop because it does nothing to help solve the problem.
Homeless people are constantly discriminated against – directly, culturally, and structurally. There is a real anti-homeless movement. Take a look below to see what we mean, but you’ve been warned, it’s hard to stomach how mean society can be.
1. These poles were installed to prevent homeless people from sleeping under this covering… but someone found a clever solution
There simply aren’t enough homeless shelters to provide refuge to all of the homeless people on our streets. These exclusionary designs deny people the right to find a covered spot to rest their head for the night.
2. Benches with strategically-placed armrests
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, there were 553,000 homeless people in the US on any given night in 2018.
This number is relatively low because of the high turn-over rate of homeless people. Many people experience homelessness for a few nights over the course of a year.
Chronic homelessness is a different problem defined as a person who has slept on the streets or in a shelter for an entire year or has experienced four or more periods of homelessness over the course of three years.
In 2017, it was estimated that there were around 85,000 chronically homeless people sleeping on the streets or in shelters.
3. But seriously, how do spikes solve anything?
Sadly, the number of vacant houses outnumbers homeless people by five times.
4. Destroying someone’s property is never okay
Between 2008 and 2009, around 1.56 million people in the US relied on an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.
5. This man removed ‘anti-homeless’ devices on benches. He ended up in court.
Homelessness disproportionately impacts children and the elderly. As of 2009, one in every fifty children faced homelessness.
The largest numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth reside on the streets of California, Texas, and Florida.
6. Don’t sleep on my steps
Not sure I’d even want to walk on these steps!
More men are homeless compared to women – men make up about 60 percent of all homeless people in the US.
7. Oh, the irony
The mini armrest prevents anyone from enjoying a good snooze on this bench
College kids often face homelessness as well. According to the Free Application Federal Student Aid, FASFA, there were 58,000 students who identified as homeless on their application in 2013.
In January 2017, it was estimated that there were 37,878 homeless veterans in the US, making up 8.6 percent of all homeless adults.
8. Homeless man sleeping on an anti-homeless bench surrounded by flood waters
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act after many years of advocacy and lots of revisions. To this day, this remains the only article of federal legislation that reserves funding for homeless people.
9. It’s not just in the US… these spikes are in response to Mumbai’s homelessness crisis
Given the right life circumstances, homelessness could essentially happen to anyone. Yet, many states have criminalized homelessness instead of seeing it as a social issue.
Some of the main causes of homelessness in the US include a lack of affordable housing, lawful eviction, negative cash flow, divorce, post-traumatic stress disorder, foreclosure, fire, natural disasters, mental illness, physical disability, lack of family or personal support systems, substance abuse, inadequate income sources, low paying jobs, and the list goes on.
10. Anti-homeless architecture posing as art
Many people are surprised to learn that a large percentage of homeless people have jobs, they simply don’t make enough money to afford housing.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, one must earn at least $21 per hour to afford a two-bedroom rental in the US. Unfortunately, the federal minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour.
That means many low-wage workers retire to their cars, RVs, side streets or local homeless shelters after working their 9 to 5 job – and many do so with their families in tow.
11. This locked-up bench in Russia
According to Josh Leopold, a researcher at the Urban Institute, approximately 25 percent of the homeless population in the US is employed.
Furthermore, Megan Hustings, the director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, reported that between forty and sixty percent of homeless people are in and out of full-time or part-time work.
12. Spikes under a bridge
A 2017 report conducted by the Washington Council of Governments found that twenty-two percent of homeless single adults and twenty-five percent of adults in homeless families hold down a job.
13. When you want to look inclusive but secretly hate homeless people