Friday, May 11, 2012

Rhode Island "Homeless Bill of Rights" passed by the Senate

By an overwhelming margin (33 - 2), the State Senate of Rhode Island approved legislation that would give greater protections against discrimination to homeless people.  If the Senate's legislation eventually becomes law, Rhode Island would be the first state in the United States to provide protections against discrimination of homeless people.

According to a report by, the bill would include at least eight fundamental rights for homeless people including:

  • The right to emergency medical care
  • The right to be free from searches and detention
  • The right to reasonable expectation of privacy of personal property
  • The right to protection from disclosure to law enforcement agencies
  • The right not to face discrimination while seeking or maintaining employment due to lack of a permanent mailing address
  • The right to confidentiality of personal records and information
  • The right not to be criminally sanctioned for unobtrusively sleeping in a public place
The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless reported that approximately 4,400 people in Rhode Island experienced homelessness at some point in 2010.

So, what do you think?  Do the Homeless in Rhode Island need their own Bill of Rights?  Do you agree that the Homeless should be entitled to the proposed "rights" set forth above?  If you do not agree with some or all of the proposed rights, what suggestions do you have to modify the proposed legislation? 

1 comment:

  1. In Europe this is often interpreted simply as a one way process so that Churches should not be allowed to interfere in Government but in the US it is recognised that separation is a two way process and Government cannot interfere in religion. unfair dismissal claim