There are a number of ways to help people suffering from homelessness in America, and banning camping in public places is not one of them. Apparently, Tennessee lawmakers think banning camping in public will raise awareness and somehow bring more aid to unhoused people, this will just hide people who need help from view.
Tennessee is about to become the first U.S. state to make it a felony to camp on local public property such as parks.
Tennessee already made it a felony in 2020 to camp on most state-owned property. In pushing the expansion, Sen. Paul Bailey noted that no one has been convicted under that law and said he doesn't expect this one to be enforced much, either. Neither does Luke Eldridge, a man who has worked with homeless people in the city of Cookeville and supports Bailey's plan — in part because he hopes it will spur people who care about the homeless to work with him on long-term solutions.
The law requires that violators receive at least 24 hours notice before an arrest. The felony charge is punishable by up to six years in prison and the loss of voting rights.