Homelessness is not a crime but now a higher fine

Late last year Pivot brought a lawsuit against the city on behalf of a homeless man named Clarence Taylor, who was ticketed for sleeping outside. Through Clarence’s case, they are challenging a set of three City of Vancouver bylaws which together prohibit homeless people from legally sleeping outdoors and sheltering themselves in any area of public property, whether in a doorway, under a bridge, or in a park.

The day they launched their suit, Mayor Robertson released a response that stated that "Being homeless is not a crime." Then last week City staff, rather than reviewing the constitutionality of these punitive laws, is actually recommending a 400% increase to the fines attached to them. The proposed increase would mean that people ticketed under these bylaws, including homeless people like Clarence, would be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000 up from a maximum of $2000.