Across the country states have begun to put forth Homeless Bill of Rights (HBR) legislation that aims to address the discrimination and criminalization of homelessness. As of 2013 Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, and Puerto Rico have passed HBR legislation. These bills take important steps to end discrimination against people based on their housing status.
Our Colorado, California, and Oregon Right to Rest Act of the HBR Campaign came before the state legislatures the 2015 session and will be back again in 2016. These bills seek to protect the same basic human rights to survival.
As inequality increases, affordable housing shortages go unaddressed, and more local ordinances are enacted without any protection provided by state laws, we can only expect these types of violations of human rights and dignity to increase. If a Homeless Bill of Rights is enacted in Colorado, our state can become a place where human dignity and rights are respected such that all people, regardless of housing status, can do what is necessary to survive in public space without being treated as criminals.