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Reader's View: Duluth has a homelessness crisis

We are now well into winter and closing in fast on the fifth anniversary of a Duluth City Council vote in support of a resolution calling for the creation of a Homeless Person's Bill of Rights. The waiting lists for public housing and Section 8 v...

We are now well into winter and closing in fast on the fifth anniversary of a Duluth City Council vote in support of a resolution calling for the creation of a Homeless Person's Bill of Rights. The waiting lists for public housing and Section 8 vouchers only seem to be getting longer. Affordable housing is a thing of the past for many low-income and working-class people.

And at least 1,000 people live in Duluth without a place to call their own, according to an entry list for housing, an annual point-in-time count, and the triennial Wilder survey. Whether they are doubling up with friends or family, sleeping in vehicles, staying in emergency shelters, camping, or maybe catching a few hours of sleep in stairwells before being moved along, the city of Duluth is in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis. One of every 80 citizens is living that crisis every single day.

Who knows when the city will take more substantial action to address the affordable-housing crisis? But for now, a basic step the City Council can take is protecting the rights to rest, privacy, and simple survival of some of our most vulnerable neighbors via a Homeless Person's Bill of Rights.

Few other cities around the country have enacted similar ordinances. If we pride ourselves on our progressive values, we can once again take the lead and declare that all citizens deserve to have their rights protected, no matter where they rest their head to sleep.

Michael Elderbrook

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Duluth

Related Topics: HOMELESSNESS
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