During the fall of 2013 the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and 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.
In 2015 PFFC became a member of a working group headed by NCH seeking to add “homelessness” as a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977. The working group gained the formal backing of 65 organizations in Washington DC.
Added wording to existing legislation was drafted, with the assistance of a prominent Washington DC law firm. The outcome was Bill 22- 0397 , Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017”introduced by Council Members Nadeau, Cheh, and Robert White in July 2017. Bill 22-0397 amends the Human Rights Act of 1977 to include protections for the homeless from discrimination. 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.
Bill 22-0397 was referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, chaired by Council Member Charles Allen where it languished until time ran out in December of 2018
In March of 2019 this Bill was re-introduced as Bill 23-0195 by Council Members Grosso, Nadeau, Cheh, Bonds, Todd, and Robert White. The Bill was sent to the Committee on Government Operations chaired by Council Member Brandon Todd. Council Member Todd has informed us that he plans to schedule a hearing for Bill 23-0195 during the Spring of 2020.