Years of research and advocacy around criminalization of homelessness and increasing violence committed against people experiencing homelessness has shown that added protections are needed to preserve the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness. Moreover, the over-representation of people of color among those experiencing homelessness requires further dedication to principles of equity and equal access to public resources. NCH staff work to educate public officials and local advocates about the importance of passing protections for those without housing in the United States.
Homeless Bill of Rights measures work to ensure that homeless individuals are:
- Protected against segregation, laws targeting homeless people for their lack of housing and not their behavior, and restrictions on the use of public space.
- Granted privacy and property protections.
- Allowed the opportunity to vote and feel safe in their community without fear or harassment.
- Provided broad access to shelter, social services, legal counsel and quality education for the children of homeless families.
The following cities, states and territories have passed homeless rights legislation:
Baltimore (MD) | Connecticut | Duluth (MN) | Illinois | Madison (WI) | Puerto Rico | Rhode Island | Traverse City (MI)
The following jurisdictions are considering homeless rights legislation:
California (2017) | Colorado (2019)| Delaware | Detroit, MI (2018) | Hawaii ("Housing is Healthcare")* | Knoxville, TN (click here for text of bill from 2016) | Massachusetts | Michigan (2017) | New Haven, CT (2019) | Oregon (2017) | Pennsylvania (2019) | Vermont (2019) | Washington, D.C.
* Note that Hawaii passed a Bill of Rights bill that will not be enacted until July 1st, 2050