Connecticut Takes Up The Homeless Bill of Rights
Although not the first state to do so, Connecticut has passed a landmark piece of legislation concerning the rights of homeless individuals. On June 5, at 11:30 pm, Connecticut lawmakers passed SB 896, better known as the “Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights.”
In June 2012, Rhode Island passed a similar bill, inspiring Nate Fox, a project supervisor for the Faces of Homeless Connecticut chapter to support this bill for Connecticut.
As reported by Mint Press News, the bill is awaiting signature by Governor Dan Malloy. If signed, it will go into effect, October 1, 2013. Advocates also say that the “key impetus” for these changes are coming from homeless men and women themselves.
ThinkProgress reported that the protections of the bill include a homeless person’s right to move freely in public spaces, have equal employment opportunities, receive emergency medical care, register to vote and to cast his or her ballot, protect personal information, have some privacy in his or her personal property and receive fair treatment from state agencies.
Although this bill was passed in Connecticut, a similar bill has just been put on hold in California. The San Francisco Public Press has reported that the bill has been suspended for a year, mainly because of cost issues. An estimate of nearly $300 million has been put forth by the Appropriations Committee, citing the construction and operation of hygiene centers to be the biggest expenditure.