Council approves Homeless Bill of Rights

INDIANAPOLIS - Local lawmakers approved a proposed Bill of Rights for Indianapolis' homeless population.

Proposal 291 went before the City-County Council for the second time after being sent back to committee for amendment in December.

The proposal passed 16-13 during Monday night's meeting.

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The policy would create a Bill of Rights that guarantees the right to:

  • use and move freely in public spaces
  • equal treatment by city agencies
  • emergency medical care
  • vote, register to vote and receive proper voting ID
  • confidentiality of personal records
  • a "reasonable expectation of privacy"


The proposal also specifies guidelines for how and when city agencies can relocate homeless people.

The Department of Public Safety would have to give 15 days' notice before making a homeless person move from their camp.

At the 15-day mark, DPS would also notify a designated organization to oversee the displaced person's relocation and, if possible, secure transitional or permanent housing.

If such housing wasn't available, the DPS would have to wait to close the camp.

Additionally, the proposal states that the Department of Public Works must catalog and maintain a displaced homeless person's personal items for 60 days and make "reasonable efforts" to notify the person before disposing of the items.

A previous version of the bill required the DPW to store personal items for 90 days, but the time period was shortened by amendment.

The council also voted on Proposal 41, which would change the term "housing status" to "homelessness" throughout the city's equal opportunity policy. That proposal did not pass.

According to Proposal 291, the number of homeless people in Marion County ranges from 7,543 to 9,485 throughout the course of a year.

See the full agenda for Monday's City-County Council meeting here.

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