Category Archives: Homeless

New Op-Ed: This is what homelessness looks like for my mom

carliving_imageNew Op-Ed: Melody Clark, This is what homelessness looks like for my mom, Curbed Seattle, April 17, 2018.

Thousands of people are experiencing housing instability in Seattle — including those staying on couches and in cars.


New Report: Protect Tenants, Prevent Homelessness

New Report: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Protect Tenants, Prevent Homelessness, (2018).

Blog Post: What is Loitering, Really? (visual storytelling)

whatisloiteringreallyBlog Post: Ariel Aberg-Riger, What is Loitering, Really? CityLab, May 21, 2018.

New Article: An Intersectional Approach to Homelessness: Discrimination and Criminalization

New Article: Alice Giannini, An Intersectional Approach to Homelessness: Discrimination and Criminalization, 19 Marq. Ben. & Soc. Welfare L. Rev, 1 (2018). Abstract below:

The purpose of this essay is to address discrimination against homeless people. First of all, the theory of intersectionality will be explained and then applied as a method of analysis. The complexity of defining homelessness will be tackled, focusing on the difficulties encountered when approaching this concept. Notions such as protected ground and immutability of personal characteristics will be discussed. Then, an intersectional approach to homelessness will be outlined. Different cases settled by the Supreme Court of Canada will be used to support this approach. Intersectional discrimination is a rather new theory which has not yet been applied by many courts and tribunals but Canada has proven to be a vanguard in this area. For this reason, Canadian case law has been chosen as the main example in this research. Phenomena of stereotyping, prejudices and social profiling connected to homelessness will be described. In addition, an inquiry on homelessness cannot be conducted without looking at the representation different minority groups within the homeless population and therefore this aspect will be shortly dealt with. To continue with, different laws and other legal sources concerned with criminalizing specific conducts against public order will be analyzed applying the outlined intersectional method. In specific, this work will concentrate on quality of life regulations and anti-homeless regulations. What the author will argue is that, once it is established that homelessness is a ground worthy of protection, this kind of legislation results in direct and indirect discrimination. In conclusion, the arguments in favor of including homelessness or social condition as a ground of discrimination will be laid out, with reference to Canadian, European and international law sources. Due to the broadness of the topic, this essay does not aim at being a comprehensive study but rather at trying to answer these questions: how can we consider homelessness as a ground of discrimination? What are the most common ways in which this distinctive kind of discrimination is perpetuated?

New Article: Too High a Price 2: Move on to Where?

New Article: Nantiya Ruan, Elie Zwiebel, Michael Bishop, Bridget DuPey, Nicole Jones, Ashley Kline, Joshua Mitson, and Darren O’Connor, Too High a Price 2: Move on to Where? U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper, No. 18-14, May 7, 2018.


News Coverage: At Sean Hannity properties in working-class areas, an aggressive approach to rent collection

News Coverage: Aaron C. Davis & Shawn Boburg, At Sean Hannity properties in working-class areas, an aggressive approach to rent collection, Washington Post, May 11, 2018.

New Reports: 6 new reports from the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project

New Reports: 6 new reports from Homeless Rights Advocacy Project. Overview and links to the reports from Seattle University’s news release:

Key Findings

The reports identify common problems with existing laws and policies and offer effective, legally sound alternatives. Links to all current reports are included below. All current and previous HRAP reports can be accessed by visiting the HRAP homepage.

One report offers the first statewide analysis of laws that restrict begging:

  • Begging restrictions are often illegal and can create more problems than they solve. The vast majority of Washington cities (86 percent) criminalize begging, and most of these laws (83 percent) can result in criminal charges. These laws can lead to serious collateral consequences that make it extremely difficult for already vulnerable people to access housing and employment. Read the full report.

Four of the reports are geared to the network of city officials, non-profit organizations and others working to alleviate homelessness:

  • Accessory dwellings have potential. Several cities around the country are experimenting with accessory dwellings -small units in residential backyards – to address housing shortages and homelessness crises. This guide analyzes innovative case studies in Colorado, Washington, California, and Oregon to provide lessons on structural design, project funding, screening and matching residents and hosts, potential legal liabilities, zoning regulations, and public relations considerations. Read the full report.
  • Authorized encampments can be effective interim solutions. Cities are also trying authorized encampments as temporary solutions, but implementation has been haphazard due to a dearth of practical guidance. This guide summarizes the challenges and opportunities posed by various encampment models along the West Coast. Read the full report.
  • Faith communities can be key partners. Faith-based organizations, such as churches, mosques and synagogues, are important providers of social services; they also enjoy special legal protections, allowing them to provide shelter even when prohibited by local law. This guide surveys successful practices and key considerations from faith communities in Washington and Colorado. Read the full report.
  • Safe parking is a must for people living in vehicles. Vehicle residents are a growing part of homeless populations. This guide examines case studies of successful safe parking programs in Washington and California that mitigate harm to vehicle residents and offer support that can lift people out of poverty and into stable, permanent housing. Read the full report.

The final report is a practical guide for homeless individuals and others who have been arrested:

  • Unhoused people who are arrested can be their own best advocate.  Public defenders often are overworked and have little time to spend with clients; many defendants do not even receive one. But even represented unhoused defendants can help themselves with HRAP’s first-of-its-kind guide to navigating court, which introduces common legal terms and timelines, and provides strategies for those experiencing homelessness to advocate for themselves. Read the full report.

News Coverage: Gov. Jerry Brown offers part of a historic budget bonanza to help ease California’s homelessness crisis

News Coverage: John Myers & Liam Dillon, Gov. Jerry Brown offers part of a historic budget bonanza to help ease California’s homelessness crisis, L.A. Times, May 11, 2018.

New Article: A Place to Call Home: Tenant Blacklisting and the Denial of Opportunity

New Article: Paula A. Franzese, A Place to Call Home: Tenant Blacklisting and the Denial of Opportunity, 45 Fordham Urb. L.J. 661 (2018). Abstract below:

Tenants named in an eviction proceeding, no matter the outcome or the context, find themselves placed on registries collected and maintained by private “tenant reporting services.” Tenants whose names appear on these so-called “blacklists” are often denied future renting opportunities, stigmatized and excluded from the promise of fair housing. At a time of continued rollbacks and dramatic cuts to housing voucher programs and affordable housing options, a candidate named on a dreaded blacklist can find herself on a quick path to homelessness. That tenant blacklisting has been allowed to persist is emblematic of how powerless many tenants – and particularly public housing tenants – have become. This paper endeavors to give voice to some of the stories of tenants affected by the practice. It then sets forth an agenda for reform.

New Article: Bundling Justice: Medicaid’s Support for Housing

New Article: Mary Crossley, Bundling Justice: Medicaid’s Support for Housing, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Forthcoming, SSRN April. 2018. Abstract below:

Achieving safe and stable housing presents a profound and ongoing challenge for many people living in poverty. The challenges include housing that is substandard or unaffordable and continuing risks of eviction. For a growing number, these challenges prove too much, and they become homeless. In addition, housing-related challenges that are part of daily life for many poor people can influence their physical and mental health. Increased attention to the health impacts of inadequate, insecure, and unaffordable housing has prompted some – including public health experts, physicians, and sociologists studying housing – to urge that housing issues, and homelessness in particular, be addressed as a health problem. This article considers whether Medicaid should pay for supportive housing for some recipients. First, it briefly describes how state Medicaid programs already are permitted to use federal Medicaid funds in support of recipients’ shelter needs in three different contexts: (1) the mandatory nursing home benefit; (2) expanded home and community-based services (HCBS) programs for recipients needing long-term support and services (LTSS); and (3) initiatives to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless persons. After describing the ways that states currently are permitted to use federal Medicaid funds for supporting housing, the article interrogates the simultaneous permissibility of states’ paying for room and board for Medicaid recipients residing in nursing homes and impermissibility of paying rent for Medicaid recipients needing supportive housing. Using the concept of bundled payments, I argue that justice requires treating these populations similarly.