I am a person with a history of intermittent homelessness, due to a combination of factors, some part of which being a personal interest in frugality, generally low standards or needs for material comfort, and a belief that it shouldn’t require a lot of money just to live happily (as well as other involuntary, extenuating circumstances, as well). For this reason I have become interested in the rights of homeless people, in the way that my own personal experiences allow me to empathize with a much larger body of people whose experiences may be submersed, by that portion of the population who may be less aware of the daily lives of the homeless.

I have only a personal conviction that it seems like a good, socially and morally wholesome policy to give people a generally lenient ability to lie down and rest somewhere, when they need to. Obviously, circumstances and context plays a role, but the reason I want to discuss this is that there are some contexts, repeatedly, where I have felt there are perhaps slightly unjust rules in certain places that needlessly penalize homeless people.

The short summary is this: it is sometimes very beneficial to lie down. It is something that is freely available, like air, and sometimes water. It is good for your physical and mental health. But it is very common in public places to have a no-lying-down policy. A security guard may come by and tell you this is not allowed.

I personally think there’s a line to be drawn where something is not actively harming other people, so there is some sort of power imbalance when people are too widely restricted from doing something as basic and humane as lying down and resting. Often these types of policies exist specifically to deter homeless people from loitering. Yet, I find this to be an incompassionate general social approach to the social problem of homelessness: get out of here, you’re not our problem. Things like this enable people to wall themself off from social problems in their very backyard. And while I believe they should have that right to, at the same time, I think there is a power imbalance where homeless people, or people in general, aren’t successful in making the case that it is actually a decent, just, and humane general civic attitude to allow people bodily rest, when they need it.

Realistically, how could a person like me try to generally promote this in society, using all means available, such as law?

  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because it is unclear what the question of law is here. Do you want a change in society? Then this would be off topic. Do you want to know about the legality of lying down in public? If yes, please elaborate where specifically, as this is extremely dependent on the jurisdiction.
    – Trish
    Jan 12 at 23:57
  • Related: cnn.com/2024/01/12/politics/…
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 13 at 0:22


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