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In response to deaths, Duluth advocates push for Homeless Bill of Rights

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Advocates in Duluth are pushing for the implementation of a Homeless Bill of Rights following the deaths of 29 homeless people in the city in 2013, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

A group of people gathered on the steps of Duluth City Hall on Christmas Eve to draw attention to deaths and make a call for change. A member of the advocacy group Loaves & Fishes told the News Tribune that an estimated 200 homeless people were living outside in Duluth before winter arrived.

According to the paper, the Homeless Bill of Rights calls for an ordinance that would establish a city commission to fight hunger, homelessness and poverty. Advocates also hope the bill will help protect homeless people from harassment and make it clear that being homeless isn't a crime.

Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner said she would introduce a resolution in support of the Homeless Bill of Rights at the Jan. 13 meeting of the council.

In Minneapolis, advocates took to the street last week to remember more than 130 homeless people who died in the city in 2013, MinnPost said.

The Dec. 19 event marked Simpson Housing Service's 29th Annual Homeless Memorial March and Service, which began at the Hennepin County Government Center and ended with a public Service of Remembrance at Simpson United Methodist Church.

According to MinnPost, the number of homeless people who died in Minneapolis this year was at 137 as last week, up from about 100 in 2012.

A number of events to remember those who died homeless were held over the weekend nationwide, the National Coalition for the Homeless said.

The 2012 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress found in January 2012, 633,837 people were homeless on a single night. Sixty-two percent of those people were individuals and 38 percent were part of a family.

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