Restroom not accessible to homeless

Restroom not accessible to homeless

PFFC is an active member of a working group headed by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) that has as its objective adding “homelessness” as a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977.

If successful, Washington, D.C. would become the first city in the nation to make it unlawful to discriminate against homeless individuals in housing, employment, public accommodations, and educational institutions. In so doing, Washington DC joins a number of cities and states in the US that are seeking to enact legislation that will protect the rights of individuals that are homeless.

During the fall of 2013 the NCH and the The George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration collaborated on researching the extent to which homeless individuals in Washington, D.C. have perceived discrimination as a result of their housing status. 134 homeless individuals living in Washington DC were interviewed.

The study findings, published in April of 2014 show that the majority of those interviewed claimed to have been discriminated against at some point, in a variety of capacities, because of his or her housing status. Given the legal freedom that organizations have to discriminate, and the consequential lack of redress afforded to the victims, the homeless are rendered powerless in taking action to prevent this mistreatment.

PFFC is a member of working group headed by NCH that is seeking to add “homelessness” as a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977. Added wording to existing legislation has been drafted, with the assistance of a prominent Washington DC law firm.

The working group has gained the formal backing of 65 organizations in Washington DC. The director of the DC Council Judiciary Committee has indicated that he would be willing to have a hearing on this legislation. Working group members are in the process of gaining support from 2 or 3 DC Council members who belong to the Judiciary Committee to introduce this legislation.