The government amendment on homelessness is not designed to penalise living in the street, a government official said on Wednesday. It aims instead to make sure that rough sleepers “do not make life for the non-homeless more difficult.”
To that end the bill, if passed into law, will authorise local governments to ban homeless types of behaviour from certain parts of their territory “in the interest of security, public order and health, as well as the protection of cultural values”, Karoly Kontrat, state secretary at the interior ministry, said in a plenary debate.
“It is important that the proposal is not aimed at punishing people; just that everyone should observe legal regulations,” Kontrat said.
Kontrat added that Hungary would have sufficient heated shelters for all the country’s homeless in winter.
The electoral alliance E14-PM, however, said that the proposed amendment was a “declaration of war” on the poor and homeless.
Speaking on behalf of E14-PM, lawmaker David Dorosz told a press conference that the proposal ran against an earlier Constitutional Court ruling that homelessness could not be eliminated through law-enforcement means. The government is punishing society’s most vulnerable, Dorosz insisted. He pledged that his party, if it wins power, would introduce policies helping the needy and those willing to work.
The top court annulled a section of the law on public offences that classed living in public areas unlawful in November last year. It also scrapped provisions that authorised local councils to introduce regulations for fines against anti-social behaviour and confiscate personal belongings.