Law Center Launches "All-In to End Homelessness" Campaign
On Thursday, April 12, the Law Center kicked off its "All-In to End Homelessness" campaign, in partnership with American University's School of Communication.
The campaign includes a solidarity drive, asking people to pledge to go "all-in" to end homelessness. We collected more than 500 signatures at Thursday's event (and 200 signatures online) from people pledging to treat homeless people with dignity and respect and support a common goal: finishing the job we started with the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act.
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New Federal Report Condemns the Criminalization of Homelessness
Audio: Law Center Civil Rights Attorney Heather Johnson and local partners discuss criminalization on Radio Health Journal with Reed Pence.
On April 9, the Law Center won a big victory in its fight against the criminalization of homelessness. The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released a report condemning criminalization as a misguided effort to "minimize the visibility of homeless people."
Criminalization laws make it illegal to be homeless by banning life-sustaining acts, such as eating and sleeping, in public - even when housing and shelter are unavailable.
The report, which draws heavily on Law Center publications (including Criminalizing Crisis and Homes Not Handcuffs) confirms what we've long insisted: criminalization laws "undermine real solutions" and may violate the constitutional and human rights of homeless people, as well as U.S. international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture.
Developing the federal report was a requirement of the 2009 HEARTH Act, for which the Law Center was the primary advocate in Congress. It is the first report on criminalization ever issued by the U.S. government.
Free Webinar on the Rise of Tent Cities in the United States
On Wednesday, May 2, the Law Center will be hosting a free webinar previewing its upcoming report, "Welcome Home: The Rise of Tent Cities in the United States."
With homelessness and poverty at record levels, there have been increasing reports of homeless
encampments emerging in virtually every state in the country.
The response of municipalities has varied. Some have shut down camps, often arresting residents and destroying their property. Others have regularized the camps, allowing residents to build more permanent structures in place of tents. And some, commendably, have chosen to address the underlying issue - lack of housing - by helping residents access supportive housing.
The Law Center has partnered with the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School to produce a report examining a few representative tent cities, with the goal of shedding light on why the camps exist, sharing stories of their residents, and demonstrating common ways communities have responded to the trend. The report also identifies the major human rights implications of forced evictions and offers best practices for municipalities.
About the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
The Law Center is the only national legal advocacy organization dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness in America. It fights in the halls of power for laws and policies that protect homeless people's rights and help them rise out of poverty.