2012-06-28 / News

RI is first state with “Homeless Bill or Rights”

Being homeless does not deny a person basic human rights, nor does it deny them access to necessary services and fair treatment.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently signed legislation that will establish a “Homeless Bill of Rights” in Rhode Island. Rhode Island has become the first state in the nation to adopt such a measure.

“It is sad that in a nation as rich as ours, there are still so many homeless people,” said Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr., sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. “Whether that is a long-term or short-term situation, the homeless have a right to access decent accommodations, to obtain employment and to be treated fairly by law enforcement, regardless of their housing status.”

Approval of the legislation in both chambers of the General Assembly was greeted with applause from advocates.

The “Homeless Bill of Rights” will guarantee that no person’s rights, privileges or access to public services will be denied or abridged solely because he or she is homeless.

The bill will guarantee, in law, that homeless individuals have the right not to face discrimination while seeking or maintaining employment, and have the right to use and move freely in public spaces in the same manner as any other person and without discrimination.

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