Homeless-Rights Advocates Stress the Need For Toilet Access

Should homeless Americans be entitled to 24/7 access to restrooms? An increasing number of advocates are pushing the issue to the forefront of homeless-rights discussions.

Should homeless Americans be entitled to 24/7 access to restrooms? An increasing number of advocates are pushing the issue to the forefront of homeless-rights discussions. A recent article by Renee Lewis of Al-Jazeera America investigated the cause:


“Everybody should be able to pee for free with dignity regardless of your income,” Michael Stoops, director of community organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless, told Al Jazeera... Restrooms in all businesses should be open to anyone who needs them, Stoops said.

The main issue, as Lewis learned from her interviews, is that access to public restrooms can be extremely limited at certain times of the day, causing homeless people to have to relieve themselves in public areas. This poses a huge problem in terms of sanitation, both for the homeless person and for people who use those public areas.

On the other hand, mandating an open restroom policy would expose business owners to their own sanitation issues, not to mention safety and liability. If the idea to make toilets more accessible is to gain traction, it's probably going to have to come via increased funding to help shelters hire staff for daytime operations.

Read the Al-Jazeera America and let us know what you think about the subject. Is the homeless community's lack of access to restroom facilities a human rights issue?

Photo credit: Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock

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