Target: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy
Goal: Applaud new legal protections covering homeless Americans
Although the number of homeless Americans modestly decreased over the last few years, the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that more than 630,000 remain without shelter or basic services in 2012. More than 6% of those individuals are considered “chronically homeless,” and another 7.2% are military service veterans. The State of Homelessness in America 2013 report notes that, while “[a] majority of persons identified as homeless were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing… 38% [240,000 people] were unsheltered, living on the streets, or in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation.” These people were living without even the most basic sanitary or health services available. The shameful state of homelessness in America coincides with ongoing attempts to slash public assistance spending nationwide and a rebounding housing market, driving rental rates further out of reach for America’s poorest individuals and families.
Homelessness is a vicious cycle, reifying the challenges that lead to housing insecurity, unemployability, and exclusion from social and political opportunities. Recognizing these widespread challenges, Connecticut lawmakers recently passed the “Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights.” As ThinkProgress reports, “[the] bill, SB 896, [is] a landmark piece of legislation to protect homeless individuals’ rights, adds homeless people as a protected class who can’t be discriminated against in employment, housing, or public accommodations.” The legislation also protects the homeless from undue, discriminatory scrutiny by state and municipal agencies, law enforcement officers, and other public officials.
The Homeless Bill of Rights is a critical means of breaking the cycle of chronic homelessness. By protecting the homeless from pervasive employment and housing discrimination, SB 896 ensures consistent access to essential means of escaping life on the streets or worse. Thank the Connecticut Legislature for their work, and encourage Governor Malloy to sign and implement this legislation immediately.
Dear Governor Dan Malloy,
The Connecticut Legislature recently passed the landmark “Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights” (SB 896), powerful legislation to protect the state’s homeless population from undue discrimination. The bill’s explicit protections ensure that homeless individuals have equal rights to legal protections, free movement, and employment and housing eligibility. This compassionate and intelligent policy change directly addresses both the socioeconomic distresses experienced by the homeless, as well as longstanding impediments to their reentry into the workforce.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that more than 630,000 people remained without shelter or basic services in 2012. More than 6% of those individuals are considered “chronically homeless,” and another 7.2% are military service veterans. While state-level and national politicians shamelessly work to slash public assistance spending for these Americans, Connecticut defiantly reaffirms their humanity and right to equal treatment with SB 896.
We appreciate your hard work and passionate support for this critical legislation and encourage you to sign and implement these changes immediately. Thank you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Richie Diesterheft via Flickr