The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

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The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) is an American nonprofit group which engages in impact litigation, policy advocacy, and research on the problem of homelessness.

It was founded in 1989 by Maria Foscarinis and is based in Washington, D.C.

It has played a major role in focusing attention on local laws that it argues criminalize homelessness.[1]


Major accomplishments by NLCHP include:

  • Winning a number of lawsuits to force the federal government to comply with the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act.[2][3]
  • Helping to spur passage of the 2009 Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which increased federal resources to prevent homelessness and to house those already homeless, and required that the federal government develop a plan to end homelessness.[4]
  • Helping to spur passage of 2009’s Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, which provided tenants of foreclosure properties with unprecedented federal protections, including the right to 90-days notice prior to eviction, or in many cases, the right to stay in their home until the end of their lease.[5]
  • Suing Wisconsin over laws affecting the ability of the homeless to vote.[6]
  • Successfully resolving a class action lawsuit on behalf of 2,000 children against the Long Island, New York school system, Suffolk County, and New York state, ensuring access to school and school services for those children.[7]
  • Helping the Dallas City Council draft an ordinance regulating feeding the homeless, after winning a lawsuit against a more restrictive ordinance.[8][9]
  • Successfully advocating against anti-camping laws in Puyallup, WA, where homeless persons were harassed and arrested for sleeping in public.


The NLCHP was founded in 1989 by Maria Foscarinis, after she left a job at the National Coalition for the Homeless.[10][11]

McKinney-Vento Awards[edit]

Every year the NLCHP holds the McKinney-Vento Awards. These awards recognizes individuals and organizations that have helped provide solutions to end homelessness and poverty. The McKinney-Vento awards are named after Congressman Stewart B. McKinney and Congressman Bruce F. Vento.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adams, Lucy (April 2014). "In the public eye: addressing the negative impact of laws regulating public space on people experiencing homelessness" (PDF). Justice Connect. 
  2. ^ McCambridge, Ruth (2013-04-10). "A 25-Year-Old Lawsuit and the Persistence of Homelessness Advocates". Nonprofit Quarterly. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  3. ^ "Judge: Agencies have been ‘hiding’ federal properties that could be used to house services for homeless". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  4. ^ HEARTH Act Summary, National Alliance to End Homelessness
  5. ^ Prince George's Sentinel: Foreclosures also affect tenants
  6. ^ Beck, Molly. "Federal judge: Voters without ID may vote in November by signing affidavit". Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  7. ^ Rather, John (2004-11-28). "Agreement Near on Homeless Schooling". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  8. ^ Findell, Elizabeth (2014-12-10). "Dallas approves new homeless-feeding requirements, along with legal settlement". Dallas News. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  9. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (2014-12-08). "Dallas City Council to vote on new homeless feeding rules one year after judge ruled them unconstitutional". Dallas News. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  10. ^ "Q&A With Bob Levey". Washington Post. February 12, 2002. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  11. ^ BAER, SUSAN (1990-04-22). "She Gave Up Wall Street to Find Justice : The law: Young attorney for the homeless decided to put abstract notions about social fairness into practice.". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 

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