Update on January 10, 2013
Letters of support needed for the California Homeless Bill of Rights (AB 5).
Thank you so much for your pledge to support the California Homeless Bill of Rights. If you are a California resident, please take a moment to send a letter of support to Assembly Member Ammiano's office. You may fax the letter to (916) 319-2117 or you may mail the letter to: Honorable Tom Ammiano, California State Assembly, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. Please email a copy of your letter to Colleen Rivecca at crivecca [at] stanthonysf [dot] org
Here is a sample letter. Please feel free to use this wording or to tell your own story about why you support the bill.
Honorable Tom Ammiano
California State Assembly
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 5 (Support)
Dear Assemblymember Ammiano,
My name is [Your Name] and I am writing to express my support for AB 5 (Ammiano) which would protect people without homes from violations of their basic human rights and the people and organizations who serve them from penalties. AB 5 also resolves to reduce the impact of homelessness on communities and individuals by diverting investment from criminalization to stabilization efforts.
Throughout history, municipalities have used discriminatory laws to keep particular people out of public spaces and the public consciousness. With poverty and unemployment reaching record numbers in California, we have seen an increase in such laws, targeting mainly people without homes. According to research published by the Western Region Advocacy Project, the predominant "illegal offenses" that people without homes have been charged with as a result of these "quality of life" laws are sleeping, "loitering" or being present in a public space, sitting or lying down on public sidewalks, and "panhandling" or asking for help to secure basic human needs. The study also found that the majority of people without homes did not know of a safe place to sleep at night where they would not be arrested.
In 2012, Rhode Island passed the nation's first statewide Homeless Bill of Rights, a law that will allow them to prioritize solutions that are more humane, less expensive and more successful in reducing the impact of homelessness on communities and individuals. Currently, California has no unified state law that defines a statewide standard protecting basic civil rights of homeless Californians and guaranteeing that they have adequate counsel when charged with a crime for existing in a public space. The Homeless Bill of Rights seeks to stop this growing injustice in our state and identify more sustainable and humane responses to homelessness.
[Optional: Include a few sentences about why you care / your personal reasons for supporting the bill. ]
I support AB 5 and thank you for introducing this important legislation.
[Your address, or the California city where you live]