Tent Cities: An Interim Solution to Homelessness and Affordable Housing Shortages in the United States

Tent Cities: An Interim Solution to Homelessness and Affordable Housing Shortages in the United States


Tent cities have reemerged in the public view as a result of economic depression and the housing crisis in recent years. Despite the growing number of tent cities and their homeless residents, these encampments have received almost no academic attention or analysis. This Comment seeks to open the dialogue on tent cities in the context of informal housing law and policy in the United States. In doing so, it provides background on homelessness, informal housing, and tent cities, explores the benefits derived from tent cities both for encampment residents and for local government actors, and also considers the ethical and legal constraints associated with homeless encampments. The Comment then explores innovative government responses that have allowed tent cities to survive and sometimes thrive. Finally, the Comment proposes several ways in which tent cities can be acknowledged, addressed and improved. The complicated social and political context in which tent cities exist, and the substandard conditions that many tent city residents endure, underscore the immediacy of the issue, and the importance of addressing encampments in a coherent, cohesive, and compassionate manner.

 

 

PDF

More in this Issue

The Power of Procedure: The Critical Role of Minority Intervention in the Wake of Ricci v. DeStefano

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 24(a)(2) permits third parties whose interests are not adequately represented by existing parties to intervene in ongoing litigation to protect those interests. This Comment considers whether intervention can and should be used as a tool for nonparty racial minorities in the fight for social justice. Ultimately, it posits that […]

Federalism and the Taxing Power

Scholars and courts recognize that the federal government uses its broad spending power to enlist states in achieving federal goals, thereby expanding the federal government’s reach beyond the areas enumerated for it in the Constitution. Previously underappreciated, however, is that the federal government can achieve similar ends-it can regulate the states and private parties-through its […]

Fact and Fiction about Facial Challenges

The Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have frequently insisted that “facial challenges” to the validity of statutes are and ought to be rare. Based partly on an empirical survey of all cases decided by the Court during six selected Terms, this Article reveals that assumption to be empirically false and normatively mistaken. Error on […]