Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Finally, in R.I., homeless civil rights as such?

Via @withouthousing: Rhode Island is considering a state bill to establish a Homeless Bill of Rights. That's rights as in civil rights. As in finally treating discrimination against homeless people as an invidious distinction. Finally treating it as illegal. Finally requiring police to recognize homeless people as holding full-sized citizenship. Finally establishing that people who lack housing have the same property and privacy rights in their possessions as people who have homes to put them in. And more.

That's great news. In San Francisco, anti-homeless discrimination is so open it comes across half the time as some kind of civic betterment mission.

Wouldn't have predicted this would come out of Rhode Island. On the other hand, O.K., scrappiest of the New England states, vestiges of working-class pride... well, hm, maybe. Place used to be legendary for corruption too, of course... but, gotta be something in a place that serves food to hungry people right in the basement of the Statehouse.

Per this technically helpful legislative press release, the bill is already through the state Senate, and per its sponsor would be the first such law in the nation if established. The state Senate bill is 2012's S 2052, Substitute A. The companion House bill is 2012's H7173. To follow the bills' status over time, go to the General Assembly site here and search by their respective sponsors, State Sen. John J. Tassoni and State Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski.

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