Devin Smith / Wikipedia
credit: Devin Smith / Wikipedia

Violent crimes against the homeless were the focus of a July 10 briefing on Capitol Hill.

“Protecting some of the most vulnerable people in this nation should be a top priority of this Congress,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness.

A panel discussion included experts from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, law enforcement officials and a victim of violence.

“Raising awareness is just one component of finding a comprehensive solution that not only protects the homeless from violence, but also reduces the total number of people living on the streets,” Johnson said.

According to the annual “Hate Crimes Against the Homeless” report compiled by the National Coaltion for the Homeless, housed people committed 1,184 acts of violence against homeless people between the years of 1999 and 2010. The attacks resulted in 312 deaths and 872 non-lethal injuries, the report found.

Johnson has authored legislation to include hate crimes against homeless individuals in the uniform hate crimes statistics collected by the Department of Justice. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.