Poor and unhoused people are most often prosecuted for “crimes of survival,” like sitting, lying down, or sleeping in public space. As people accrue charges, it becomes virtually impossible for them to access essential resources.
Criminalization directly blocks pathways to stability and further endangers the physical and mental health of our most vulnerable community members.
In order to protect people from discriminatory enforcement of laws that prevent rest, the Right to Rest Act would:
Prevent the unlawful seizure and destruction of unhoused people’s possessions.
Prohibit law enforcement, security personnel, or public employees from harassing, citing, or arresting homeless people for exercising the following rights:
To occupy and move freely in public spaces
To rest (sit, stand, and sleep)
To eat and share food
To occupy a legally parked vehicle
Provide a defense to civil and criminal charges when the basis for those charges is that the person was merely engaging in the protected activities listed above.
Create an exception for public spaces that are closed, as long as adequate alternate spaces are provided for people to rest without time limitations.
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