Council committee to take up “Homeless Bill of Rights”

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 10, 2014) - A proposed "Homeless Bill of Rights" aims to provide basic protections to the city's most vulnerable population. Councillor Leroy Robinson introduced a proposal that would add certain protections for the homeless.

"Well I think it's significant for all the organizations that have a stake in service to the homeless so there's something that's concise that all of us can refer to without going off the paper," said Steve Kerr, Chief Development Officer for the Wheeler Mission Ministries.

The proposal specifically mentions the Davidson Street homeless camp that was dismantled by the city in August 2013. The proposed ordinance would not allow the city to break up a homeless camp or displace a homeless person unless transitional or long-term housing is available.

Councillor Robinson also drafted a "Homeless Bill of Rights" with seven protections listed out. It includes the right to vote, seek emergency medical care and right to move freely in public spaces.

Mayor Greg Ballard's spokesperson said the city has some concerns with the proposal but would not elaborate on what those concerns are.

"We have concerns with some of the initial language that was introduced but we've been voicing our concerns, working with the councilors as well as our partners and we'll see if we can get those addressed as we move though the council process," said Marc Lotter, spokesperson for Mayor Greg Ballard.

The Rules and Public Policy Committee will take up the proposal during its meeting on Tuesday, November 11th. The full proposal is available online.