HOUSTON, TX - A Houston couple who fell on hard times after Hurricane Harvey was forced to live on the streets. To add insult to injury, Misty Howard and Curtis Owens were then ticketed for sitting on the sidewalk in Houston. They received citations that totaled over $1,000.
Howard and Owens are slated to go to court Tuesday morning for "sitting on the sidewalk"--something the United States Department of Justice deemed Cruel and Unusual Punishment under the 8th Amendment to the Constitution. Misty and Curtis fell on hard times after Hurricane Harvey.
Without a place to go, the couple found themselves on the streets of Houston with only their belongings. They were hit with 4 Houston citations totaling over a $1,000 for sitting and setting their belongings down on the only place they had-a Houston sidewalk. If any fines are not paid, this couple couple end up in jail.
According to the couple's civil rights lawyer, Randall Kallinen, the city of Houston has been hostile to the couple for simply sitting on the sidewalk when they were forced to live on the streets. "The City of Houston has no less than 6 anti-homeless behavior laws on their books making Houston one of the most hostile cities in the United States in which to find yourself homeless--whether displaced by a hurricane or being mentally ill."
Kallinen added, "The City is engaged in a pitched battled with the homeless since Hurricane Harvey," said Kallinen, "Currently there is a state lawsuit to allow citizens to feed the homeless which is against the law in Houston and a lawsuit over the amount of belongings a homeless person can have and whether they can seek shelter from the weather in a tent. The City is resisting the lawsuits."