Homeless Bill of Rights Petition

Homeless Bill of Rights: A Background

The Homeless Bill of Rights is a document drawn up in 2017 by FEANTSA, the European coalition of homelessness organisations, to encourage cities to recognize the rights of the homeless.

Homeless Bill of Rights Coalition Logo

Brighton & Hove Housing Coalition launched the Homeless Bill of Rights for Brighton & Hove (set out in full below)[1]on 28/10/18.

The Homeless Bill of Rights is a compilation of basic rights drawn from European and international human rights law, but made specific to the situation of the homeless. It has been adopted by six European cities, including Barcelona. As well as the interests and concerns of rough sleepers it includes those of people in emergency and temporary accommodation and the “hidden homeless”, sleeping (for example) in vehicles, tents, and on friends’ sofas.


[2]This is a fresh translation and two more articles have been added, with FEANTSA’s blessing, to reflect the concerns of UK activists and homeless people at a public meeting on 28th October.

I support the adoption of the Brighton Homeless Bill of Rights

Therefore we ask everyone to sign this petition:
1) that the City Council of Brighton & Hove adopt the Homeless Bill of Rights at the first full Council meeting after the council elections on 2nd May 2019;

2) that the Council thereafter in all its policies, practices and procedures that affect the homeless endeavour to comply with the letter and the spirit of the Homeless Bill of Rights;

3) that the Council promotes to the best of its ability the adoption of the Homeless Bill of Rights by the community and city of Brighton & Hove.

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Latest Signatures
40 Ms Theresa v. Aug 14, 2019
39 Ms Sophie P. Jun 12, 2019
38 Dr. Jo T. Apr 09, 2019
37 Miss Nicole H. Mar 11, 2019
36 Miss clara a. Mar 08, 2019
35 Ms Kate K. Mar 06, 2019
34 Ms Francesca F. Mar 05, 2019
33 Mrs Erika G. Feb 06, 2019
32 Mr Shaun G. Jan 30, 2019
31 Ms Pam P. Jan 30, 2019
30 Mr Gary O. Jan 30, 2019
29 Ms Alexandrina B. Jan 30, 2019
28 Ms Naomi H. Jan 30, 2019
27 Dr. Vicky L. Jan 30, 2019
26 Ms Danielle C. Jan 29, 2019

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HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS

In accordance with international human rights treaties and in line with domestic law and the democratic and humanist values that underpin it, we, Brighton and Hove City Council (“the Council”) declare:  

It is the constant concern of the Council to respect and uphold the rights of people who are experiencing homelessness, in particular their right to housing. While working towards that goal we are determined not to contribute in any way to the harsh and inhuman conditions too often experienced by people who do not have a place to live. 

We believe that it is the responsibility of all individuals, businesses and organisations, and of all local authorities, including ourselves, to commit to improving the living conditions of people who are homeless and to lessen the negative effects of homelessness.  

To help achieve this, and in common with other cities throughout Europe, we believe that it is important to re-state that every person who is experiencing homelessness is entitled to the same treatment as any other resident in the city area. No one should be denied rights because they are homeless.  

In particular we commit ourselves to making effective the following rights:  

1. The Right to Housing

The most important right a homeless person has is to exit homelessness. Services supporting access to appropriate housing must be accessible to all homeless people. In partnership with other competent public authorities, the Council shall work to ensure that there are sufficient routes into housing to meet need.  

2. The Right to Shelter 

Where housing cannot be immediately provided, there must be access to decent emergency accommodation for all homeless people. The Council is committed to ensuring that there is sufficient emergency accommodation available to all, so that no one is forced to sleep rough for want of a bed. 

3. The Right to Use Public Space 

People who are homeless should have the same right to use public space and to move freely within it, and to rest in it, as anyone else. This includes, but is not limited to; access to pavements, parks, public transport and public buildings on the same terms as any other member of the public.  

4. The Right to Equal Treatment 

The Council is committed to ensuring that their staff and services uphold the right to equal treatment for all, without discriminating against the homeless.  

5. The Right to a Postal Address

The Council shall secure that homeless people who need one have an effective postal address of last resort.  

6. The Right to Sanitary Facilities

The Council commits to providing access for all homeless people to basic sanitary facilities – running water (drinking fountains), showers and toilets sufficient to allow for the level of hygiene appropriate to maintaining human dignity.  

7. The Right to Emergency Services

The right to emergency services – social services, health services, the police and the fire service – on equal terms with any other member of the public, without being discriminated against because of their housing situation or their physical appearance.  

8. The Right to Vote

The right to vote, to be included on the electoral register and to be given the necessary documents to prove their identity when voting in elections, without being discriminated against because of their housing situation.  

9. The Right to Data Protection

People who are homeless have the right to data protection, with their data only being shared by public and other services with their consent and only for the purposes of providing services and solutions to them. Homeless people have the same right as everyone else to exercise control over their personal details, particularly their health information, their criminal record if they have one, their housing and their private life and family history. 

10. The Right to Privacy

The right to privacy must be respected and protected to the fullest extent possible in all types of accommodation, including communal accommodation structures and informal accommodation lived in by homeless people. The Council is committed to working to ensure that all emergency accommodation provided can deliver on this right. 

11. The Right to Survival Practices

The right to carry out practices necessary to survival within the law. While the Council strives for a city in which such practices are not necessary, we recognize that where people have no other option they will seek support from other people through begging or foraging for discarded food to survive. Such survival practices should not be criminalized as such, or banned, or arbitrarily confined to specific areas. 

12. The Right to Respect for Personal Property

People who are homeless should have their belongings, including tents and sleeping bags, respected by everyone including public servants. They should never be damaged or thrown away or be removed without compelling need, and if they are removed they should be made available for collection without charge.

13. The Right to Life

The right to life requires public authorities to take measures to preserve life. When people who are homeless (including people in emergency accommodation) die, the Council is committed to ensuring that their deaths are recorded as such, and that in each case there is a reasonably public investigation in order to understand the causes of death and what might have prevented it.


[1]This is a fresh translation and two more articles have been added, with FEANTSA’s blessing, to reflect the concerns of UK activists and homeless people at a public meeting on 28th October.

[1]http://media.shelter.org.uk/press_releases/articles/320,000_people_in_britain_are_now_homeless,_as_numbers_keep_rising

[1]https://www.crisis.org.uk/media/238700/homelessness_monitor_england_2018.pdf

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsofhomelesspeopleinenglandandwales/2013to2017