A growing number of cities across the country are making it "illegal to be homeless," according to a new report.
Despite a lack of affordable housing and emergency shelter, many of these communities are implementing laws that ban homeless residents from sitting or lying down in public, loitering, sleeping in vehicles, and begging for money or food.
"More cities are choosing to turn the necessary conduct of homeless people into criminal activity," said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP).
The law center has tracked homelessness criminalization laws in 187 cities small and large since 2011.
During that time, city-wide bans on camping in public -- which can include sleeping outside on the streets or in a tent -- have increased 60%.
The number of cities with laws prohibiting or restricting people from sitting or lying down in public has jumped by 43%, and bans on sleeping in vehicles have surged 119%. Meanwhile, laws prohibiting people from begging in public and loitering have climbed more than 20%.
And these laws are popping up even when people have few other options for survival, the NLCHP argues.
In Santa Cruz, Calif., for example, sleeping in vehicles and camping, sitting or lying down in public, is criminalized -- even though a local survey found that 83% of homeless people don't have access to housing or shelter.