Homeless Bill of Rights

Do the homeless need a Bill of Rights?


R.I. Gov. Chafee signs first-in-nation 'homeless bill of rights'

R.I. Gov. Chafee signs first-in-nation 'homeless bill of rights' By Philip Marcelo

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Governor Chafee has signed legislation providing Rhode Island with a first-in-the-nation "homeless bill of rights" to protect people who are homeless from discrimination in employment, emergency medical care, use of public spaces, voting and in dealings with state, city and private agencies.

According to the Assembly, the legislation, S-2052, will guarantee that "no person's rights, privileges or access to public services will be denied solely because he or she is homeless."

Among things it spells out in law:

— The right to seek and keep a job even if a person does not have permanent housing

— The right to use public spaces such as sidewalks, public parks, public transportation, public buildings

— The right to emergency medical care free from discrimination

— The right to vote and register to vote


The homeless have the same rights as everybody else, no more, no less.

One thing that sticks out bolder than the rest is "The right to emergency medical care free from discrimination."

Have we discriminated? I think not. I know not. That it is even insinuated in the language of the law is an abomonation.

Considering the homeless population in Providence and everywhere else in America that I'm aware of has recieved emergency medical care free from discrimination since the advent of emergency medical care, it is extremely insulting that the language even made it into the bill. EMS does not discriminate. When people need us, we deliver. Period. We deliver them to the nations emergency rooms, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to those facilities annually.  If anybody understands the plight of the destitute and homeless it is the emergency medical services, both on the streets and in the ER's. Perhaps I'm a little touchy on the subject, but things like this that go under the radar of the people responsible for writing and implimenting law, and those who report on it tarnish the image of EMS and the people who provide the services, day in and day out.

Prior to the bills passage, police objected to a line that spoke specifically to equal treatment by law enforcement, replacing that with the more appealing to the homeless advocates line "by all state and municipal agencies."

Where was our voice when the bill was being debated? Did anybody notice? Did nobody care?










  • B says:

    What about the right of everybody else to have a rescue respond in a timely fashion to actual medical emergencies instead of waiting 20 minutes for a mutual aid truck because the rescue paid for with their tax dollars are shutling the homeless to the ER for non-emergent complaints?  

  • Medic2Rn says:

    "Where was our voice when the bill was being debated? Did anybody notice? Did nobody care?"
    Because Emergency Medical Services is the red headed step-child of the fire service in RI.  If it is not a big red fire truck the IAFF and the State Association could care less. 
    Be Good,

    • Tired of it says:

      Except when the leadership needs to project their own skin… THEN, the sky will fall and rivers turn to blood and pestilence will cover the earth if anyone except a IAFF firefighter takes an EMS call.  

  • Steve says:

    Someone needs to set fire to some Executive Branch Government building, and when FD and Rescue are called say, 'sorry, we're otherwise engaged not discriminating a homeless man with a hangnail!'

  • Lyn - you know who says:

    Amen to all the comments above, EMS is expendable in NH, EMS in a non-fire ambulance….dirt under their feet.    Did you know that when (NOT IF) an EMS responder is injured on duty the State of NH County Prosecutor's office null pross's felony charges?    Did you know that Workmans Compensation in the State of NH does not pay for the surgeries incurred by EMS on duty, they are allowed to refuse payment and force EMS to hire attorneys?  When a bill was presented to Concord, the teachers union jumped on it and claimed they had higher incidence of injury than EMS and they got the bill dumped.   EMS ……no-one knows or cares who or what we do until they need us and that in 2012 is NOT an acceptable state of mind. 

  • tbone says:

    How about a taxpayer bill of rights? Like the people who NEVER call for a rescue suddenly need one for chest pains and have to wait until a mutual aid company responds from a good distance. Oh right…i forgot. The homeless guy that calls every two days with leg pain gets the free rescue ride. The poor folks who paid their taxes for decades get screwed again. Hard to believe a group that doesnt vote has soo much clout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *