Congresswoman Cori Bush Image credit: ShutterStock

Congresswoman Cori Bush Re-Introduces Unhoused Bill of Rights


Congresswoman Cori Bush reintroduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights, a federal resolution calling on Congress to end the unhoused crisis by 2025 permanently.

Bush says if passed, the legislation will provide a “comprehensive, intersectional analysis of the multitude of issues faced by our unhoused neighbors—particularly their criminalization, discrimination, dehumanization, and mistreatment by law enforcement, private businesses, and housed persons.” 

Since the pandemic, Bush has been one of the leading political voices championing housing rights for the American people. Back in August 2021, congresswomen Bush, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley all slept on the steps of the Capitol to protest the eviction moratorium, which was enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect renters after the pandemic rocked the economy. In February, Bush joined Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García in sending letters to Greystar Real Estate and the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) to guarantee that renters’ rights are protected during the tenant screening process. 

The work is far from over.

Bush insists if the bill is not enacted, thousands of families across the country risk losing their homes, and that affordable housing is a right, not a privilege.

“My children and I have personally experienced the trauma, stress, stigma and pain that comes with being unhoused. Our veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and our youth are disproportionately at risk of becoming unhoused. Being able to afford a safe place to live is a human right that has been undermined by intentional policy decisions,” said Congresswoman Bush. “That is why, as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness, I am proud to reintroduce the Unhoused Bill of Rights, legislation that commits the federal government to addressing the root of our nation’s housing crisis once and for all. We have the power and money to end the unhoused crisis, we just need the will to reorient Congressional priorities.”

The legislation aims to:

  • Provides a blueprint for the federal government to permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2027 by drastically increasing the affordable housing stock, providing universal housing vouchers, and bolstering funding to federal housing programs, shelters, transitional and permanent housing programs, social services, and permanent emergency rental assistance;
  • Calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the unhoused crisis a public health emergency;
  • Protects unhoused individuals from the violation of their fundamental human rights to housing, health care, livable wages, education, employment opportunities, access to public facilities, and freedom from harassment by law enforcement, private businesses, property owners, and housed residents;
  • Supports historic federal funding levels for state and local governments to provide 24-hour support for unhoused people, including: shelters, transitional housing programs, supportive services, public restrooms, hand-washing stations, showers, laundry facilities, and water fountains in coordination with grassroots and community-led organizations;
  • Develops holistic, health-based, and non-carceral solutions to the unhoused crisis in coordination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community-led organizations, and unhoused advocates from a health-based approach that addresses both the unhoused and public health crises.

“We recognize that homelessness affects all folks without a place to call their home, including migrants who are fleeing their home because of state-related violence, indirectly due to United States foreign policy. Houselessness affects our communities at intersections, no one without a home now harms all people and we applaud Congresswoman Cori Bush for her efforts to address this unhoused crisis,” says Juan Narvaez, Co-Director of Interfaith Committee on Latin America.

A copy of the legislation can be found here. A copy of the one-pager can be found here.

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