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Congresswoman Cori Bush Introduces the Unhoused Bill of Rights, Affirming the Rights of the Unhoused

Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush has introduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights, a federal resolution calling on Congress to permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2025.

The resolution calls on the federal government to declare the crisis a life-threatening public health emergency, and provides a comprehensive list of more than 30 recommendations to guarantee housing, health care and liveable wages for unhoused people.

The Unhoused Bill of Rights acknowledges Congress’ obligation to make significant investments in the nation’s affordable housing stock, supportive services, and other critical resources to support our country’s unhoused community.

This is the first federal resolution that affirms the civil and human rights of unhoused individuals and communities.

“The unhoused crisis in our country is a public health emergency, and a moral and policy failure at every level of our government,” said Congresswoman Bush. “As someone who has lived in her car with my two infants while I was working a full-time job, I know the daily trauma and stress that comes with the perpetual instability of not having a safe place to live.”

“It is past time for the federal government to establish an Unhoused Bill of Rights and make the desperately needed investments to guarantee housing, health care, and a robust social safety net for our unhoused neighbors. We can end this crisis by 2025 if we, as lawmakers and as a country, finally dedicate ourselves to prioritizing those in our communities who have the least.”

The Unhoused Bill of Rights would: 

  • Permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2025 by drastically increasing the affordable housing stock, providing universal housing vouchers, and bolstering funding to federal housing programs, shelters, transitional and permanent housing programs, social services, and housing advocates;
  • Calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the unhoused crisis a public health emergency;
  • Protect unhoused individuals from the violation of their fundamental civil and human rights to housing, health care, livable wages, education, employment opportunities, access to public facilities, and freedom from harassment by law enforcement, private businesses, property owners, and housed residents;
  • Supports historic federal funding levels for state and local governments to provide 24-hour support for unhoused people, including: shelters, transitional housing programs, supportive services, public restrooms, hand-washing stations, showers, laundry facilities, and water fountains in coordination with grassroots and community-led organizations;
  • Develop holistic, health-based, and non-carceral solutions to the unhoused crisis in coordination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community-led organizations, and unhoused advocates from a health-based approach that addresses both the unhoused and public health crises.

 

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