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UK nears first homeless bill of rights

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A UK city council has approved plans to create the UK’s first homeless bill of rights.

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Brighton city councillors have unanimously backed proposals to enshrine 13 rights for homeless people in the local authority.

The rights included in the bill include the right to housing, the right to shelter and the right to equal treatment. It also proposes rights to a postal address, sanitary facilities, emergency services, data protection and privacy. 

The bill says:

“It is important to restate that every person who is experiencing homelessness is entitled to the same treatment as any other resident in the city area.”

According to government statistics, in 2017, Brighton had the highest number of rough sleepers outside London, and there were 48 homeless deaths between 2013- 2017.

Campaigners also wish for the homeless population to be guaranteed the right to vote, to life, to respect for personal property and to survival practices.

The bill states: “Human rights are for everyone, without exception; but it can be hard to believe that if you are homeless.”

Six cities including Barcelona have already enacted a similar policy and a petition to persuade Brighton council to adopt the bill has received over 2,600 signatures.

Shaista Aziz, spokesperson for the Labour Homelessness Campaign, told VICE: “Brighton passing the Homeless Bill of Rights would send a strong message of solidarity to people experiencing homelessness around the country and a strong signal to other councils that they should follow suit.”

The bill will face further scrutiny from a council committee and the final decision is expected to be made on 18th September.

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