Continued Efforts to Pass The Duluth Homeless Person's Bill of Rights
People find themselves without permanent shelter for various reasons and the current Duluth housing market compounds the issue.
Per the 2015 Duluth Housing Indicator Report:
“Single minimum wage workers likely cannot afford suitable market rate housing even for just themselves. Even with two full time minimum wage income earners, families likely cannot afford suitable market rate housing.”
Citizens face hardship in our community finding adequate housing and it is our responsibility as a community to ensure those without housing can maintain their dignity.
Through various listening sessions and surveys with the homeless community in Duluth beginning in 2013, the Duluth Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition has created an eleven point Bill of Rights that seeks to alleviate discrimination, allow for advocacy, provide basic dignity, and prevent laws that have been created in other communities to criminalize homelessness. The coalition is made up of volunteers who are currently facing or have formerly faced homelessness, Loaves and Fishes members, and members of other community groups and agencies
On December 5th, advocates for the Homeless Person’s Bill of rights met with the Duluth City Council at a committee of the whole meeting outlining the what the bill seeks to accomplish, clarifying proposed issues, and discussing how passage could affect the city. Council members were roundly positive and affirming of the bill. Now, we are awaiting the Human Rights Commission to look over the proposed language and potentially endorse the bill before presenting a draft for approval by the City Council.
Progress has been made, but there is still much to be done. People too often like to stereotype the homeless as not working hard enough to lift themselves out of the extremely difficult situation of being without housing. Years of their hard work is now culminating. They have spoken with this bill. We need to trust their voices and help lift them into a great chorus.
-Jason Kenison, Loaves and Fishes live-in volunteer and HBR coalition member
What you can do:
Join our facebook page in order to keep updated on the Bill’s passage – facebook.com/righttorest
Join our group for one of our regular meetings and lend your voice and talents
Join us at City Council chambers when the bill is presented and show your support with your presence
Talk to neighbors and friends about the importance of trusting our community members who do not have housing and supporting them in their fight for dignity in Duluth