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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 28, 2017 03:29 PM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt and Rep. Isabella V. Fitzgerald
To: All House members
Subject: Homeless Bill of Rights
In the near future we will be introducing legislation to enact a “Homeless Bill of Rights” in Pennsylvania.

Local codes that outlaw loitering, vagrancy, sitting or lying on the sidewalk, begging, eating in public, and other behaviors disproportionately affect homeless people.

The Homeless Bill of Rights protects the civil and human rights of homeless people and ensures that no individual should suffer unnecessarily, be denied basic rights or be subject to unfair discrimination based on their homeless status.

The burdens of joblessness and poverty are increasingly falling on a proportion of our population, and pressure on public resources and services is growing. Given this situation, we believe it is the responsibility of all to maximize their contribution to improving the living conditions of people who are homeless, and to lessen the negative effects of homelessness.

There are key rights that homeless people need to have protected. Our bill aims to ensure that homeless people have the right to: move freely in public spaces; equal treatment by all government agencies without discrimination based on housing status; nondiscrimination while maintaining employment due to lack of permanent address; emergency medical care; vote; protection from disclosure of records provided to homeless shelters and social service providers; confidentiality of personal records and information; and, a reasonable expectation of privacy in their personal property.

We hope you will join us in cosponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HB1664