The city of Indianapolis has approved on Monday an ordinance that is being called the "Homeless Bill of Rights," granting homeless residents of the city protections from discrimination they face on a regular basis. The ordinance seeks to give homeless individuals the right to fair and equal treatment enjoyed by non-homeless residents. Many face harassment for simple, everyday activities simply because of their homeless status. Below are the 6 points listed in the "Bill of Rights":
1. The right to move freely in public spaces, including sidewalks, parks, buses and buildings.
2. The right to equal treatment by city agencies.
3. The right to emergency medical care.
4. The right to vote, register to vote and receive documentation needed for a photo ID.
5. The right to protection from disclosure of private records, as well as the right to confidentiality already protected by federal law.
6. The right to the same "reasonable expectation of privacy" for their personal property as someone with a permanent residence has.
Similar legislation has passed in states like Rhode Island in which homeless advocacy groups say implementation has been difficult. Despite this, passing these types of ordinances are a step in the right direction toward combating discrimination against the homeless.