Housing Not Handcuffs
Who is involved in the Campaign?
Housing Not Handcuffs was initiated by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless, and more than 100 participating organizations, including groups that don’t commonly work together, such as:
-Housing groups pushing for greater access to affordable housing
-Homelessness groups pushing for homeless services and rights
-Civil rights groups
-Criminal and juvenile justice reform groups
-Organizations supporting children and youth
-Smart government groups
The Campaign has now grown to include over 800 endorsees, over 300 of which are organizations.
Goal of the Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign
Across the country, cities are criminalizing homelessness, making it illegal for people to sit, sleep, and even eat in public places—despite the absence of housing or even shelter, and other basic resources.
These laws and policies violate constitutional rights, create arrest records and fines & fees that stand in the way of homeless people getting jobs or housing, and don’t work. The evidence is clear that homelessness is reduced in communities that focus on housing, and not those that focus on handcuffs.
Criminalization of homelessness costs more money than simply solving the problem by ensuring access to adequate housing. And there is a growing awareness among the general public that our criminal justice system is not the solution to social problems.
Housing Not Handcuffs is a national campaign to stop the criminalization of homelessness—and to push for effective housing policies that end homelessness.