Maria Foscarinis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Maria Foscarinis
Born (1956-08-08) August 8, 1956 (age 64)
EducationColumbia University (BA, JD)

Maria Foscarinis is the founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., United States, that calls itself "the only national legal group dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness".[1] She was a major architect of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987[2][3] now known as the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Foscarinis grew up in a middle-class, Greek immigrant family in Manhattan, New York. Foscarinis graduated from the New Lincoln School, received her B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.[4]


Before entering the advocacy field, Foscarinis was a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1981 to 1982. She was a litigation associate from 1982 to 1985. While at the firm she took a pro bono case representing a class of homeless families who had been denied emergency shelter in a federal court case.[2]

In 1985, Foscarinis left her job at the law firm and established and directed the Washington, D.C., office of the National Coalition for the Homeless. She directed campaigns to enact federal legislation to aid homeless people, including the 1987 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation to address homelessness.[4]

In 1989, she founded the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.[5]


  1. ^ "Our view: President's homelessness czar could surprise us". Durango Herald. December 24, 2019. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  2. ^ a b Baer, Susan (April 22, 1990). "She Gave Up Wall Street to Find Justice". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ Mecoli, Mathew (30 November 2019). "Human Rights Heroes: Maria Foscarinis, Eric Tars and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty". Human Rights. American Bar Association. 44 (3). Retrieved 24 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "The New Social Reformers". The New York Times. October 26, 1986.
  5. ^ "Public Interest Research Organizations // Poverty Studies // University of Notre Dame". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2020-05-07.

External links[edit]