The following is a guest post from Paul Boden, executive director at Western Regional Advocacy Project in San Francisco:

People are nervous these days. Unemployment is at the highest level since the depression, foreclosure rates continue to rise despite massive bailouts to banks and lenders, and almost everyday another factory is closing or laying off workers.

The current proliferation of “nuisance crime laws” in public spaces is a manifestation of people’s fears about the increasing visibility of poverty. Unfortunately, adding to the litany of laws that criminalize poverty and homelessness isn’t going to change a thing.

Every night on the news are stories of people and families who never thought they would eat at a soup kitchen, get food from a pantry, or sleep in a shelter alongside the “regular homeless.” And yet, amazingly enough, across the country new laws are being proposed to protect the rest of “us” who still have a job, a business or a home from having to see this misery. (more…)