NEW: Retiring State Senator John Tassoni Scoops National Award
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Smithfield) has been named a recipient of the Bruce F. Vento Award, presented by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
The award will be presented at the 14th annual McKinney-Vento Awards ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C., in November.
In a letter announcing Senator Tassoni’s selection for the award, Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director of the National Law Center, said that “as a long-time advocate for homeless and poor persons, and as the architect of the landmark Homeless Bill of Rights, you have demonstrated the power of the law to change lives for the better.”
The Rhode Island Homeless Bill of Rights, based on legislation sponsored by Senator Tassoni, was enacted into law this year. The Homeless Bill of Rights will guarantee that no person’s rights, privileges or access to public services will be denied or abridged solely because he or she is homeless.
The Law Center presents the Bruce F. Vento Award to elected officials who have advanced policies to address the needs of homeless persons. It was named in honor of the late Congressman Bruce F. Vento, who championed legislation to help homeless people become self sufficient. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was the first, and is still the only, major federal legislation addressing homelessness.
Senator Tassoni, who is serving his sixth and final term in the Rhode Island Senate, has been a strong and vocal advocate for the homeless and the rights of the homeless. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government. It was as a direct result of hearings held by the committee that Rhode Island reactivated the permanent Interagency Council on Homelessness, an 18-member panel charged with developing a strategic plan to end homelessness in the state in cooperation with state agencies, community-based, and volunteer organizations and advocacy groups and businesses.
Senator Tassoni this year received the “Senator Jack Reed Advocacy Award” from the RI Coalition for the Homeless, and was the 2011 recipient of the Partners in Housing Public Service Award presented by Rhode Island Housing.
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