MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison's Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) meets at 5:00 p.m. Thursday at the Madison Municipal Building and will consider a Homeless Bill of Rights for the city, according to EOC member Hedi Rudd.
Rudd says the commission knows the city faces problems within both the unemployed and homeless communities.
"They pass judgement on us. You know what I'm saying? But we're just like them. You have no idea where we come from," Chile Burton says about living in Madison as a homeless man.
The EOC has been looking at bills of rights for the homeless in other states as a guideline, though the director of the city's Department of Civil Rights told the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper that any bill crafted by the EOC would be tailored to fit into current Madison and state ordinance. Rudd says members will keep the needs of all Madison residents in mind.
The laws in some other states and municipalities affirm that homeless people have equal rights to things like medical care, free speech, free movement, voting and privacy.
"They'll have a forum where they can issue complaints and once again, with the larger community, we'll have this intentional conversation, we'll start the dialogue, with the hopes that it'll raise the level of awareness and the plight of homeless people in the city of Madison," commission president Brian Benford says.
EOC member Ald. Anita Weier has introduced a proposal to the city council that would make Madison's unemployed fall under a protected class. Rudd says they have seen discrimination take place against those who don't have jobs, and that makes it even harder for them to become employed.