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Advocates rally for Homeless Protection Act following subway tragedy

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In the wake of the tragic death of homeless New Yorker Jordan Neely, advocates for the homeless are reigniting efforts to pass the long-pending Homeless Protection Act, which aims to classify crimes targeting homeless individuals as hate crimes in New York.

Jordan Neely was fatally choked by another subway rider a year ago, sparking outrage and renewed calls for legislative action to address violence against homeless people.

The proposed Homeless Protection Act seeks to designate homeless individuals as a protected class, affording them similar legal protections as other marginalized groups based on race, ethnicity, or religion.

If enacted, the legislation would not only establish homeless individuals as a protected class but also mandate that crimes committed against them be specifically documented in the state’s annual hate crime report, shedding light on the prevalence and severity of such incidents.

Despite being dormant in the state Legislature for more than a decade, the tragic circumstances surrounding Neely’s death and the forthcoming trial of the Marine Corps veteran accused of killing him have injected new urgency into advancing the Homeless Protection Act.

Advocates argue that the bill is essential to combatting systemic violence and discrimination against homeless individuals, highlighting the need for legal measures to address the targeting of vulnerable populations within society.

The push to pass the Homeless Protection Act reflects a broader societal conversation about the treatment and rights of homeless individuals, with advocates and lawmakers emphasizing the importance of recognizing and addressing violence against this marginalized community.

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