COURTESY CORI BUSH
Congresswoman Cori Bush introduced a bill to Congress today that aims to end the "unhoused crisis" by 2025.
With just days remaining before the federal eviction moratorium
is set to expire, U.S. Representative Cori Bush has introduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights to Congress.
Announced Wednesday, Bush is proposing a federal resolution that calls on Congress “to permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2025,” according to a press release
from Bush’s office. Bush said the goal is attainable if lawmakers and the country “finally dedicate ourselves to prioritizing those in our communities who have the least.”
The resolution would make the crisis a public health emergency and provides a list of more than 30 recommendations to guarantee housing, health care and livable wages for unhoused people.
“The unhoused crisis in our country is a public health emergency, and a moral and policy failure at every level of our government,” Bush said in the press release. “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.”
Bush’s release said the Unhoused Bill of Rights would protect unhoused individuals from the violation of their fundamental civil and human rights. It also proposes raising federal funding to "historic" levels to give state and local governments the resources to provide 24-hour support for unhoused people.
Other components of Bush's proposal include funding for shelters, transitional housing programs, supportive services, public restrooms, hand-washing stations, showers, laundry facilities and water fountains.
The bill also would aim to develop “holistic, health-based, and non-carceral solutions” to the crisis. Both federal departments, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and community-led organizations would help contribute to the solutions, according to the release. In addition to the organizations, the release says they will also reach out to unhoused advocates to address both the unhoused and public health crises.
Tent Mission STL is one such organization. The organization is a team of volunteers that seeks to help the unhoused through community outreach. They provide "temporary, emergency tent sheltering, guidance, and necessary supplies for the unhoused in St. Louis during the Covid-19 health crisis," their Facebook page reads
. In the release, the organization said the time for the federal government to help local communities supporting the unhoused is long overdue.
“We live in a country whose approach to homelessness has been criminalization, a state where harm-reduction workers are forced into the shadows because it is still a felony to distribute clean syringes to IV drug users, and a city that doesn’t have a 24/7 emergency walk-up shelter for its residents,” Tent Mission STL said in the press release.
The organization also said that it is crucial when helping unhoused residents, the government follows “the lead of unhoused folks and local activists in order to mitigate harm and uphold the dignity of the unhoused community.”
“Congresswoman Cori Bush’s Unhoused Bill of Rights takes important strides in that direction,” the organization added in their statement.
The resolution has support from many St. Louis organizations, such as the Arch City Defenders and Action STL. The bill also boasts support from several national organizations: the National Coalition for the Homeless, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Homeless Law Center, National Alliance to End Homelessness all are listed as endorsers.
Co-sponsors of the bill include big names, such as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY-14; Rashida Tlaib, MI-13; Jamaal Bowman, NY-16; and Ayanna Pressley, MA-07. The bill has thirteen other co-sponsors.
Bush said this is the first federal resolution of its kind. You can read the full resolution here
or visit Bush’s website at bush.house.gov
to read a summary of the bill.
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