It is illegal to camp on public land under the Equal Access to Public Land Act of 2012. The ordinance was created in response to an increase in homeless people camping out of state capital. 2014 Tennessee Code 39-14-414 defines camping on state property as a Class B misdemeanor. This regulation allows law enforcement officers to seize and forfeit camping gear found on state-owned property.
Tennessee’s homeless are directly affected by this statute. These people lack the proper housing they need and have to live on government-owned land. Henderson 2017, 2017: The legislation led to the demolition of property belonging to homeless people and an increase of prison rates for the homeless. This legislation has made it harder for the homeless to live in peace within the United States.
This program was adopted to increase the prison population and destroy the properties of those living in poverty. Many of those who are homeless come from poor families that can’t afford the best personal products. This law allows authorities to confiscate camping gear found on territory owned by the state, thereby increasing the social and economic hardships for the homeless. Tennessee has the highest prisoner rate. According to Rankin (1999), Tennessee has a prisoner rate of 838 per 100,000 people, which is significantly higher than any democratic country’s average. To address the problem of homelessness, it is best to adopt severe policies. State should instead adopt proactive measures to combat homelessness. This includes subsidizing housing, lowering the interest rate on mortgages, and expanding loan eligibility.
Advocates of the homeless like People Loving Nashville, and Open Table Advocates to Homeless Community in Nashville use lobbying to resist the state’s attempts to criminalize poor people (Mangrum 2002). These advocacy groups convince legislators and other interested parties to support favorable legislation as well as to reject any policies that would negatively impact the public. The lobbying group was successful in stopping the passage of House Bill 978 which would have made camping illegal on inter- and state roads.
Lobbying groups could help raise money to build affordable housing for homeless people, rather than forcing the government into enforcing strict rules against camping on state property. This policy has led the state to recognize the need for proactive dispute resolution, rather than reactive. It is important that society prioritizes and recognizes the rights of those who are most in need.