They harrass the homeless people! - an HCLU video

After briefly reviewing how homelessness got pronounced as an offence, we are kindly asking you to send a letter to the minister of interior Sándor Pintér and rapporteur on homelessness, Máté Kocsis about that homeless people are not criminals. If you have time and would like to help somehow else, we can recommend you other opportunities, too.

November 18, 2010  - the amendment of the construction law is enacted. Local governments can pronounce improper use of public spaces as petty offence.

May 18, 2011 – the first municipal decree takes effect which would fine those who use public spaces for residing there habitually up to 50.000 HUF. The petty offence is introduced by the Budapest Local Government to the proposal of István Tarlós.

September 25, 2011 – referendum in Józsefváros (8th district of Budapest) among questions about whether the Józsefváros city council should introduce a separate decree on those who use public spaces habitually and therefore, commit a petty offence. The referendum is invalid due to low attendance.

September 26, 2011 – the action on protecting public order in Józsefváros begins. According to the survey conducted by the police headquarters of the 8th district, denunciations were made against offenders in 535 cases – 271 out of this were due to using public spaces habitually. The action is still not over, the local government is saving up money for its continuation for next year, based on the proposal by mayor Máté Kocsis.

October 6, 2011 - the local government of Józsefváros pronounces the habitual use of public spaces as petty offence and at the same time accepts the so-called “Soul” (LÉLEK) program. Within its framework, some of the homeless residents of 8th district would be provided job opportunities and housing.

October 11, 2011 - Fidesz requests the mayor of the 8th district and MP, Máté Kocsis to be the rapporteur of Fidesz on homelessness.

November 14, 2011 - Parliament adopts the amendment to the law under which “those who repeatedly violate the rules set by a municipal decree on the usage of public spaces for habitual residence, and on storing belongings used for residing habitually in public spaces, can be sentenced to confinement or fined up to 50.000 HUF.” Such repetition can only be established if the concerned person has been impeached within six months. The penalty cannot be imposed if the city council does not provide the necessary conditions of homeless supplies. The latter exception is legally not interpreted in the amendment. The amendment came into effect on December 1.

November 5, 2011 - the new Offence Act proposal is submitted by the Ministry of Interior to the Parliament and it is discussed in expedited procedure. According to the proposal, it constitutes an offence throughout the country if  "somebody uses public place improperly by living constantly there, and stores movables used for housing in public spaces."  The offence may not be established if the city council does not provide the necessary homeless supplies.

According to the proposal - apart from on-the-spot fine and motoring offence - if someone was put in the wrong for the third time in a row in half a year for committing offence, then the court can impose confinement as well.

If you agree with us that law enforcement cannot be the solution of the homeless problem as homeless people are not criminals, then write to the minister of interior Sándor Pintér and rapporteur on homelessness, Máté Kocsis.

Please send your e-mail to ügyfelszolgalat@bm.gov.hu and kocsis.mate@fidesz.hu and an additional copy to tasz@tasz.hu

We recommend you the following text, but please amend it with your personal opinion:

 Dear Minister for Interior and Rapporteur,

My opinion is that law enforcement is not a solution for poverty, so I ask from you the following:

- the new Offence Act shall not declare any kind of offence for living in the streets habitually.

- the warrant that is providing local governments the chance to punish homelessness in the streets be excluded from the Construction Act.

- the government to prepare a homeless-strategy that can provide a real, long-term solution for housing problems and in addition contains measures to prevent the loss of homes.

 You can also offer your help either to the City is for All group, or to citizens' movement Housing instead of Prison.

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