Rep. Cori Bush Calls on Feds to End Homelessness by 2027

Her Unhoused Bill of Rights resolution wants to make soliciting donations and access to parks unalienable rights

Jul 31, 2023 at 11:18 am
click to enlarge Representative Cori Bush speaks at a campaign event in St. Louis in August 2022.
Monica Obradovic
Representative Cori Bush speaks at a campaign event in St. Louis in August 2022.
Representative Cori Bush is once again asking the federal government to solve homelessness.

The Democrat from St. Louis has re-introduced a U.S. House resolution to declare unalienable rights for unhoused persons and provide solutions to end homelessness by 2027.

A similar measure sponsored by Bush failed to pass in 2021, but she may face a more sympathetic crowd this time around. The Biden administration has since vowed to not only stop, but reverse the rising trend of homelessness seen in the U.S. in recent years and reduce homelessness by 25 percent by 2025. Earlier this summer, the administration announced an initiative to get unsheltered people into homes in six places, but St. Louis wasn't one of them.

Bush's so-called Unhoused Bill of Rights seeks to establish protections for unhoused individuals across the country by obligating the U.S. House of Representatives to protect each of their outlined rights.

Specifically, the Unhoused Bill of Rights calls on the federal government to declare the "unhoused crisis" a public health emergency and establish protections for a long list of unhoused individuals' rights. Some of these rights include access to decent, affordable housing; uninhibited access to public parks, transportation and restrooms; and to solicit donations in public spaces, without criminal or civil sanctions or arrest in a manner that violates free speech.

In a statement, Bush reasoned that Congress has the tools to end the unhoused crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.  "We have the power and money to end the unhoused crisis, we just need the will to reorient Congressional priorities," Bush said.

Her resolution asks the House to allocate large sums to various federal funds and departments to address the issue. Among other allocations, it calls on the House to take no less than $20 billion from the country's defense budget to "permanently end the unhoused crisis in the United States" and send another $140 billion every five years to the subcommittee on transportation and housing to "preserve public housing for future generations."

For Bush, this fight is a personal one. The congresswoman has long been vocal of a time when she experienced homelessness as a single mother. During her tenure in Congress, Bush helped re-establish the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness to address the contributing factors of homelessness in the U.S.

"My children and I have personally experienced the trauma, stress, stigma and pain that comes with being unhoused," Bush said in a statement. "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."

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