New York City has a right to shelter, but will it establish a right to sleep outside?
May 21, 2023 -NEW YORK (AP) — New York Mayor Eric Adams has hailed his city’s right to shelter as a hallmark of compassion for its most destitute. Now he must decide if he will extend that compassion by bestowing homeless people with the right to sleep outside.
The City Council unanimously approved a “Homeless Bill of Rights” last month that would make New York the first big U.S. city to establish an explicit right to sleep in at least some public places.
If Adams, a Democrat, allows the measure to become law, it could be a notable departure for the city, which has for years sent police and sanitation crews to clear homeless encampments as they arise.
It also would run against the prevailing political headwinds in other places that have struggled with large numbers of people living in tents and other makeshift shelters.
The Los Angeles City Council passed a broad anti-camping measure two years ago. Then last year, the city outlawed tents within 500 feet (150 meters) of schools and day cares and banned sitting, lying, sleeping or storing personal property that would disrupt the flow of traffic on sidewalks, streets and bike lanes.