Category Archives: Homeless

Four New Reports from Seattle University School of Law’s Homeless Rights Advocacy Project

Olson, Justin and MacDonald, Scott, Washington’s War on the Visibly Poor: A Survey of Criminalizing Ordinances & Their Enforcement (May 6, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2602318

Howard, Joshua and Tran, David, At What Cost: The Minimum Cost of Criminalizing Homelessness in Seattle and Spokane (May 6, 2015). Available at SSRN:  http://ssrn.com/abstract=2602530

Lurie, Kaya and Schuster, Breanne, Discrimination at the Margins: The Intersectionality of Homelessness And Other Marginalized Groups (May 6, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2602532

Ortiz, Javier and Dick, Matthew, The Wrong Side of History: A Comparison of Modern and Historical Criminalization Laws (May 6, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2602533

-Congrats to Sara Rankin and her students for this work!  =)

New Article: “Human Impact Statements”

New Article: Marc Lane Roark, Human Impact Statements, forthcoming Washburn L.J.  Abstract below:

When a city undertakes a development project, low income and homeless persons face risks of expulsion. Public and private developers often target low-income neighborhoods and public lands because those spaces are viewed as economically more attainable or available for development. Moreover, the legal systems preference to treat disputes as individual entitlement claims tends to relegate disputes to broad questions of entitlements rather than unpacking the impacts that property changes have on the vulnerable populations. Whether by gentrification or by enhancement of city infrastructure, developer decisions disrupt what are already unstable living environments by imposing increased costs of relocation. These changes also destabilize community relationships by separating individuals and families from the support networks, local transportation options, and local employment that they have come to rely on. In short, low-income and homeless persons find themselves even more destabilized when public and private development projects force their evacuation from where they live. This article argues that though development may be necessary, it should not be undertaken without more serious evaluation of the human impacts in relation to the space. Such evaluations should include the impact on communities, employment, education, and environment for impacted persons. Importantly, failure to take notice of these impacts continues to promote cycles of poverty that plague American cities.

Drawing on similarities in the environmental context, the article argues that a NEPA-like approach to human housing can offset externalities that homeless persons and those living in low-income housing are forced to internalize through environment changes. Amongst those impacts are the imbalance between the well-funded developer and low income populations; the view that low income properties can be classified as nuisance type properties; and the tendency to only consider the highest best use of property as the rationale for development. The article concludes by offering model legislation that could be implemented to provide a NEPA like assessment to city development.

News Coverage: The homeless man who works in the Senate – The Washington Post

The homeless man who works in the Senate – The Washington Post.

New Report: “California’s New Vagrancy Laws: The Growing Enactment and Enforcement of Anti-Homeless Laws in the Golden State”

Berkley ReportNew Report: Marina Fisher, Nathaniel Miller, Lindsay Walter &Jeffrey Selbin, California’s New Vagrancy Laws: The Growing Enactment and Enforcement of Anti-Homeless Laws in the Golden State (2015).  Abstract below:

Vagrancy laws conjure up a distant past when authorities punished people without a home or permanent residence. Whether the objects of pity or scorn, vagrants could be cited or jailed under laws selectively enforced against anyone deemed undesirable. Although such laws have generally been struck down by courts as unconstitutionally vague, today’s “vagrants” are homeless people, who face growing harassment and punishment for their presence in public.

More than one in five homeless people in the country lives in California, and two-thirds are unsheltered. The state legislature has done little to respond to this widespread problem, forcing municipal governments to address homelessness with local laws and resources. Cities have responded by enacting and enforcing new vagrancy laws — a wide range of municipal codes that target or disproportionately impact homeless people.

Through extensive archival research and case studies of several cities, the report presents detailed evidence of the growing enactment and enforcement of municipal anti-homeless laws in recent decades as cities engage in a race to the bottom to push out homeless people. It concludes with a call for a state-level solution to end the expensive and inhumane treatment of some of California’s most vulnerable residents.

Program shields landlords willing to rent to the homeless | Local News | The Seattle Times

Program shields landlords willing to rent to the homeless | Local News | The Seattle Times.

News Article: Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce – NYTimes.com

Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce – NYTimes.com.

News Article: “Give the Homeless Homes”

News Article: James Surowiecki, Give the Homeless Homes, The New Yorker, Sept. 22, 2014

New Report: “No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities”

NSPNew Report: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities (2014).

News Coverage: “D.C. family homeless shelter beset by dysfunction, decay”

An extensive article:  Justin Jouvenal, Robert Samuels & DeNeen L. Brown, D.C. family homeless shelter beset by dysfunction, decay, Washington Post, July 12, 2014.

And here is a related op-ed from DC’s other paper: Aaron Weiner, D.C. General Is Awful. Closing It Could Be Worse., Washington City Paper, July 14, 2014.

Op-Ed: “Living in a Vehicle”

Op-Ed: Linda Tashbook, Living in a Vehicle, Jurist Forum, June 26, 2014.  This op-ed focuses on the notable decision in Desertrain, available here.