New Law Establishes Legal Protection for Homeless

Aug 22, 2013

People who are homeless are getting new legal protections under a law signed today by Governor Pat Quinn. I-P-R's Amanda Vinicky reports.

The new law has loftily been dubbed the "Homeless Bill of Rights." But what it really does is spell out that it's illegal to discriminate against someone just because he or she is without a permanent address. Sen. Dale Righter, a Mattoon Republican, raised this hypothetical when the bill was up for debate:

"An individual who's working in their job and their home gets flooded out, and for two or three days they're without a home ... they are searching for an apartment to lease or somewhere to land at least on a temporary basis ... the bill you've got before us now would prohibit the firing of that person from that job for an instance like that."

 Righter specifically cited the Illinois floods this spring in explaining his vote in favor of the legislation.  Advocates say because of the recession, the number of homeless in Illinois has reached record highs.