Indianapolis Passes Law to Protect Homeless as Movement Gains Steam

Indianapolis became the first U.S. city to pass a Homeless Bill of Rights measure this week — the latest success for a national campaign to end criminalization of the homeless.

Indianapolis’ proposal, passed on Monday and awaiting a signature from the mayor, would protect the rights of homeless people to move freely in public spaces, to receive equal treatment from city agencies, to obtain emergency medical care, to vote and to maintain privacy for personal property, Indy Star, a local newspaper, reported.

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Criminalization, advocates say, can make it more difficult to reduce homelessness. A criminal record can make it more difficult to find employment and housing, and aggressive policing pushes the homeless out of city centers, farther from the services intended to help them. That’s why homeless rights groups are pushing to protect the rights of the homeless at the local, state and, perhaps, the national level.

— Renee Lewis, Al Jazeera

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