NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Legislative plaza was briefly occupied once again Sunday night, but not by the Occupy Movement.
About 30 homeless advocates slept overnight on the plaza in defiance of a new state law that prohibits camping on state property. Advocates say the law, recently passed by the Tennessee legislature specifically to dislodge occupy protesters from the plaza, makes homelessness a criminal offense.
Lindsey Crank is a divinity student at Vanderbilt University and has worked with Nashville’s homeless for the past five years.
"They're trapping people in this perpetual cycle of poverty where you have court costs and jail time, and now you have a record because you slept outside because the mission was closed. It's a really harmful cycle and passing these laws doesn't solve anything. It makes things a lot worse."
Crank says legislators needs to concentrate more on providing affordable housing and less on stigmatizing the homeless.
State Police made no attempt to arrest the campers and they left the plaza shortly after sunrise.