Homeless Man Owes Government Over $110,000 In Fines For Being Homeless

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The recent case of a homeless man racking up massive fines has exposed the widespread police practice of fining homeless people for being homeless.

Émilie Guimond-Bélanger, a social worker at the Droits Devant legal clinic in Montreal spoke to the media about a case that she worked on where a homeless man racked up over $110,000 in tickets.

“It was shocking. We’ve never seen someone with so many tickets,” Émilie told CBC.

The man had over 500 tickets, which amounted to over $110,000 in fines. The fines were mostly for things that homeless people can’t control, such as sleeping in the subway or asking people for money.

He had received around 500 of them [tickets]. I could see that most of the time he would receive many in the same week, sometimes by the same officers as well,” she said.

“It’s very common, to a point where I would say it’s a systematic experience for homeless people,” she added.

On a daily basis, Émilie deals with at least two cases where people owe at least $10,000 for the crime of being homeless.

According to a study published in 2012, the homeless population of Montreal owe over $15 million in fines.

“It’s a huge amount of money that would stress out anyone who has that as a burden. So you can just imagine how it’s difficult for a person to then think about rehabilitation in society when they have such a heavy debt,” she said, “it affects them a lot. Some of them feel like there are good citizens in society — and then there’s them,” Émilie said.

It was recently reported that politicians in Los Angeles are seeking to ban homeless people from sleeping in their cars, and even RV’s.

As we reported late last year, Florida police arrested a group of charity workers for breaking a newly-imposed law against feeding the homeless. Among those charged was a 90-year-old homeless advocate.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. This just sickens me !! They are already in difficult circumstances and now being harassed and fined is incomprehensible and an irresponsible waste of time and resources including money spent on the bureaucracy when it could be used to set up more aid for those in need !!! The tax payers should call for an end to this practice immediately our legal system is being tied up in red tape and waste management ! Put our money to good use and stop wasting it you bunch of morons !!.

  2. word on the street here in daytona beach florida is that detective chitwood hates homeless people and tell the cops that are under him to lock them up. now thats just hear say. i dont know how true that is. but i do know that the daytona beach cops do lock up the homeless people hear to get their quotas. and i can prove that…..

  3. wow surprised the homeless are not spending months in jail/prison for such large fines. in america they would be behind bars. so sad. usa spends more money on military and imprisoning people instead of important matters like health care,science education, homeless and poverty.

  4. Thought this a story about the US. I’ve come to expect heartless behavior by our government, but I thought that Canada was good. Very disappointing. It’s hard enough handling the cold up north, but to be homeless there must be miserable. This just adds to their misery.

  5. No referring the homeless, no guidance, no on the spot counseling, seeking out of family. The Police are simply trained to ticket? Not Help? One can be ticketed for asking for money, that can go towards a meal, safe shelter? What of the person who decides to give? Is that person reprimanded too? It doesn’t make sense. It’s a vicious cycle, it’s kicking them when their down. It’s a legal form of bullying. It’s like taxing a man for dying in the most inopportune time. Horrible.

  6. And the elite should owe everyone else freedom and nature because they are powerless… I can’t cut the power off hein?

  7. A Government which fines a homeless person and Cops who are nothing but bullies ….is certainly a pig thought to be butchered and should be tossed in toxic plus acid vat…..

  8. Please remember that police forces were developed to protect wealthy people and their property from the rest of us. Not so surprising that homeless people are funneled into the industrial private prison system in the US, where tax paper money pays to incarcerate the disadvantaged. Same as the school to prison pipeline. $$$$$$$

  9. They give them fines, that, whenever they want, they can take them into prison, without searching for a reason.

    Politics on its finest.

  10. they should go to court and ask to be put in prison as they cannot pay fines…this way the government must give him 3 square meals a day, dental and physical care and a bed to sleep in. they can upgrade their education so they can find a job when they get out…cost government more to have him in jail then live off the streets

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