Many homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina are facing an arduous choice: vacate downtown or be arrested.
That’s because last week, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan — the Emergency Homeless Response”
— to remove homeless people from the downtown business district. Here’s
how the initiative, which was spearheaded by Councilman Cameron Runyan,
Police officers will now be assigned to patrol the city center and
keep homeless people out. They will also be instructed to strictly
enforce the city’s “quality of life” laws, including bans on loitering,
public urination, and other violations. And just to ensure that no one
slips through, the city will set up a hotline so local businesses and
residents can report the presence of a homeless person to police.