Duluth Council supports Homeless Bill of Rights

The Duluth City Council agreed this week to begin the difficult work of ending homelessness by unanimously passing what it called a “Homeless Bill of Rights.”

The council agreed to have the city’s Human Rights Commission “examine the issue of homelessness and make recommendations about how the city can better respond to people’s needs,” said the Duluth News Tribune.

City Councilor Sharla Gardner, who introduced the measure, said:

“I see this Homeless Bill of Rights as a commitment that we have as a council to this issue and to solving this issue. I believe it is more than a symbolic statement. I believe it is a call to action, and it is a first step.”

City Councilor Emily Larson added:”It’s my personal belief that housing is a human right.”

Lee Stuart, executive director of the city’s largest homeless shelter, said: “We really look at this as a symbolic call for radical inclusion for everyone who makes their home among us.”

And she wants people to see the council action as a vow to improve.

“This is our basic responsibility as a community. This Bill of Rights calls out to us as a community to figure out how to put our best thinking, our best policy and our resources to make homelessness rare among us,” Stuart said. “Will this end homelessness? No. But if it calls us to a deeper conversation about how we want to care for those who are most vulnerable among us, it’s good.”

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