HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2776        FILED ON: 1/17/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1314


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Smitty Pignatelli


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act providing a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness.






Smitty Pignatelli

4th Berkshire

Michael J. Finn

6th Hampden

Adrian C. Madaro

1st Suffolk

Susan Williams Gifford

2nd Plymouth

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Jay D. Livingstone

8th Suffolk

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

Russell E. Holmes

6th Suffolk

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Natalie M. Higgins

4th Worcester

Tami L. Gouveia

14th Middlesex

William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

Dylan A. Fernandes

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Paul McMurtry

11th Norfolk

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex

Mark C. Montigny

Second Bristol and Plymouth

Jon Santiago

9th Suffolk

Steven Ultrino

33rd Middlesex

Rebecca L. Rausch

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex

Carlos González

10th Hampden

Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex

Chynah Tyler

7th Suffolk

Harriette L. Chandler

First Worcester

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2776        FILED ON: 1/17/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1314

By Mr. Pignatelli of Lee, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1314) of Smitty Pignatelli and others for legislation to establish a homeless persons bill of rights.  Housing.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court



An Act providing a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1: Chapter 23B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

Section 31. The general court finds and declares that: No person's rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged solely because they are experiencing homelessness. Such a person shall be granted the same rights and privileges as any other resident of the commonwealth. A person experiencing homelessness shall have the right to:

(1) Use and move freely in public spaces including, but not limited to, public sidewalks, public parks, public transportation and public buildings, in the same manner as any other person, and without discrimination on the basis of experiencing homelessness;

(2) Equal treatment by all state and municipal agencies, without discrimination on the basis of experiencing homelessness;

(3) Be free from discrimination while seeking or maintaining employment due to the lack of a permanent mailing address, or a mailing address being that of a shelter or social service provider;

(4) Access emergency medical care free from discrimination based on experiencing homelessness;

(5) Vote, register to vote, and receive documentation necessary to prove identity for voting without discrimination due to experiencing homelessness;

(6) Protection from disclosure of records and information provided to homeless shelters and service providers to state, municipal, and private entities, without appropriate legal authority; and the right to confidentiality of personal records and information in accordance with all applicable limitations on disclosure, established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Federal Violence Against Women Act; and

(7) A reasonable expectation of privacy of personal property.

For purposes of this section, “experiencing homelessness” shall mean the status of not having a fixed, regular, or adequate nighttime residence, including the status of living on the streets, in a homeless shelter, in a similar temporary residence, or in situations as described in the federal Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, § 103(a), 42 U.S.C. § 11302(a).

The rights in this section shall serve as a statement of legislative intent that will guide the department of housing and community development, state and municipal agencies, and agencies contracting with the state to promote the rights of people experiencing homelessness. These principles shall not be construed to create a private right of action, or form the predicate for a right of action under any other state or federal law, or to create liability that would not exist absent these principles.