Vagrancy and homelessness is addressed in a variety of ways throughout the country. In San Francisco, a sit/lie law was designed to prevent persistent and disruptive loitering, but some of those most ticketed are least affected.
In some neighborhoods in the City by the Bay, the homeless are a part of a community even when they’re not sober. But three persistently homeless alcoholics have amassed hundreds of sit/lie citations in the year since the law went into effect. The citations are largely ignored, despite the jail sentence and fines that can accompany repeat offenses.
The oldest of the city’s chronically homeless have no disincentive for failing to comply with a law that they see as an affront to their lifestyle. The younger violators often move on before their trial date and miss court, or simply move out of the neighborhood with confronted by police. But the longtime street residents keep on with their routines that often take them from sober and friendly and drunk and problematic.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
When they’re sober, Justin O’Brien and Roland Dequina are two of the jolliest tourist sights on Haight Street. They’re just the sort of rangy, tie-dyed old-hippie types visitors expect to see along this hippie-est of streets, and they draw smiles as they greet strollers with high-fives and peace signs.
When they’re drunk, though, the smiles disappear. The pair lurch about with sloshing beer cans, get into fights and sprawl snoring on the sidewalk.
That’s why they are Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in San Francisco’s citywide ranking of people who have gotten the most sit/lie tickets since the city began enforcing the law a little more than a year ago.
Read the full article here.