Strong majority against forcing homeless people into shelters in freezing temperatures - 172 participants

Jan 04, 2016

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is experiencing criticism for an executive order that requires social services and the police to move homeless individuals to shelters when temperatures dip below freezing. Read more about this issue. In response, on January 4 the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) decided to put the issue to its Facebook  members, posting the question, “Should the NH government be able to force homeless people into shelters - potentially through arrest - in freezing temperatures?”

“Do you think the NH Government should be able to force homeless people into shelters – potentially through arrest – in freezing temperatures?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Homeless Forced Shelter NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 172 participants gave 501 responses

A total of 83% of those who participated gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 17% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 501 responses from 172 citizens. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 79%, was against the government forcing homeless people into shelters – potentially through arrest – in freezing temperatures.

  • "Government should stay out of the way. For good or bad, it’s not their business what an individual does so long as he/she isn't hurting anyone else.”
  • “In theory, most of us are a paycheck away from homelessness. There is a war on the poor. [I] hate to say it. We're one paycheck away from a false arrest for simply being homeless? That's some scary stuff right there.”
  • “The homeless have constitutional rights, too. You can’t force someone to live how you want them too.”

Yes: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 21%, supported the government forcing homeless people into shelters – potentially through arrest – in freezing temperatures.

  • “It is the only humane thing to do—bring the homeless in from the cold when we can.”
  • “Protective custody is legal. They are a threat to themselves. Years ago, we would let them sleep in a jail cell if we had one.”
  • “Yes, many of those people on the street are not mentally capable of making a rational decision.”

Other: As noted above, 17% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Discussing the role mental illness plays in homelessness: “Most homeless people need to be put in hospitals due to mental illness.”
  • Debating the nature of homeless shelters bullying takes place: “It’s hard to force a person to go to a place they feel unsafe, but there are very few shelters that are not run with an ‘agenda’ in place.”
  • Expressing concern for the homeless: “There needs to be more options for the homeless. Shelters need to stop being closed across the state so these people have a place to go.”

*Editor selection of actual citizen quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you think the NH government be able to force homeless people into shelters - potentially through arrest - in freezing temperatures? Leave a comment and have your say! 

 

 

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