Rhode Island Becomes First State To Pass Bill Of Rights For The Homeless
Throughout the last few years, conservatives have literally treated the homeless like garbage. In some states, people are being arrested for daring to help the homeless, and Republicans across the country seek to eliminate crucial funding that assists the homeless in finding shelter, food, water, and other necessities. This is all the more tragic when one considers that veterans make up a large portion of the homeless population. The homeless are less protected than everyone else in this country. They have found it difficult to vote and have been discriminated against by businesses who do not want to hire them whether they are experienced and skilled for the job or not. But Rhode Island is stepping up to the plate for the homeless, and from now on, homeless people will have their own Bill of Rights in at least one state.
Last week, Governor Chaffee signed S-2052 , which states that “no person’s rights, privileges or access to public services will be denied solely because he or she is homeless.” The legislation guarantees that the homeless will be protected from discrimination and are entitled to the same rights that all American citizens enjoy.
The Providence-Journal reports that under this bill, the homeless will have:
- The right to seek and keep a job even if a person does not have permanent housing
- The right to use public spaces such as sidewalks, public parks, public transportation, public buildings
- The right to emergency medical care free from discrimination
- The right to vote and register to vote
The homeless among us have always been looked down upon in our society as if they aren’t welcome in this land of the free, and that’s a major problem. Not only are these men, women, and children American citizens, many people who are homeless are brave military veterans who have seemingly been abandoned by the very government and people who claim to support the troops. Rhode Island has become the very first state in America to institute a set of rights for homeless people. In this state, the homeless can never again be turned down for a job simply because of being homeless, cannot be refused medical care at hospitals and can use public facilities just like everyone else, without fear of being arrested or bullied. We can only hope that this becomes a case of so goes Rhode Island, so goes the rest of the nation. After all, we owe it to our fellow Americans, our fellow human beings, and the soldiers who risked their lives to protect our rights, to have their own rights respected and protected.