The Homeless Bill of Rights (S-2052) is the name of a law which was ratified in the state of Rhode Island on June 21, 2012 and signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee on June 27. It amends the Rhode Island Fair Housing Act with wording intended to protect the rights of homeless people and prevent discrimination against them. It is the first U.S. state-level law designed to protect the rights of homeless people.
Portion of the text
- 34-37.1-3. Bill of Rights. – No person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged solely because he or she is homeless. Such a person 1 shall be granted the same rights and privileges as any other resident of this state. A person experiencing homelessness:
- Has the right to use and move freely in public spaces, including, but not limited to, public sidewalks, public parks, public transportation and public buildings, in the same manner as any other person, and without discrimination on the basis of his or her housing status;
- Has the right to equal treatment by all state and municipal agencies, without discrimination on the basis of housing status;
- Has the right not to face discrimination while seeking or maintaining employment due to his or her lack of permanent mailing address, or his or her mailing address being that of a shelter or social service provider;
- Has the right to emergency medical care free from discrimination based on his or her housing status;
- Has the right to vote, register to vote, and receive documentation necessary to prove identity for voting without discrimination due to his or her housing status;
- Has the right to protection from disclosure of his or her records and information provided to homeless shelters and service providers to state, municipal and private entities without appropriate legal authority; and the right to confidentiality of personal records and information in accordance with all limitations on disclosure established by the Federal Homeless Management Information Systems, the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Federal Violence Against Women Act; and
- Has the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her personal property to the same extent as personal property in a permanent residence.