January 31, 2017 10:54 PM
Homelessness affects hundreds here in Duluth alone, and unfortunately it's not an issue that will be going away anytime soon. However, the city is a step closer to passing a homeless bill of rights ordinance - establishing homeless rights as part of a city code.
Tuesday, the Duluth Human Rights Commission sat down with the community to discuss where the ordinance stands. The bill has been in the works for 3 years now.
The Human Rights Commission along with City Council members and members of the homeless community have been working together to come up with a draft on this bill. That first written draft was presented to the public at Tuesday night's meeting. The draft includes 11 principles which would guarantee rights to the homeless in Duluth like, the right to rest and move freely in public spaces, to occupy a legally parked vehicle and to have 24-hour access to "basic hygiene facilities."
"One of the biggest problems I feel that happens is, yes, there really isn't a place for certain people to go so lots of times. We do have to move them on a lot, and it happens over and over again," said Deb Holman, CHUM's Street Outreach team.
"The important thing about the homeless bill of rights, it gives us rights. There are a lot of rights that are on the books that aren't being followed," said Sheereka Smith, a person who has experienced homelessness.
The purpose of the meeting was to start the discussion and get community feedback on this first draft of the bill. City Councilors Joel Sipress and Em Westerlund have been spearheading the effort. Sipress says the proposal is still a work in progress, but they do expect to make it a local law in the city in the future.
As for now, voting on the bill is being held off on - to allow time for more time for discussions and deciding what is the best way to move forward will be.
Updated: January 31, 2017 10:54 PM
Created: January 31, 2017 09:27 PM
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