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Homeless Courts

About Homeless Courts

View the one pager and learn more about homeless courts and the collaborative process.

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2022 National Homeless Court Summit

On September 12 and 13, 2022 advocates from 20 different states representing public defenders, district attorney's offices, courts, and service providers met in Washington D.C. to learn more about the ABA Homeless Court Model Program. Homeless Court Programs operate across the United States diverting those experiencing homelessness from carceral solutions to address the root causes of homelessness, including addiction, mental health, and job training. The summit was hosted by the Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, and sponsored by the law firms Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, and Crowe & Dunlevy.

Program for OKC homeless population available to suspend city fines

Oklahoma City's program to expunge municipal fines and fees for people experiencing homelessness will take place in person for the first time since its start nearly two years ago.

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Expanding and Enhancing the Homeless Court Model in California

The ABA, in collaboration with the Judicial Council of California's Center for Families, Children & the Courts, is working to replicate the homeless court model across California to help address the needs of families and youth interacting with the court system. The two-phase project will first educate communities on homeless courts to help foster an understanding of their work, methods, and practices. The second phase of the project will provide personalized technical assistance to help develop new programs, or improve and expand existing programs.

ABA Passes New Homeless Court Policy (Updated Principles)

Homeless Court Principles

Our Homeless Court Principles Resolution became ABA Policy at the 2021 ABA Annual Meeting

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Homeless Court Directory

Homeless Courts are presently operating in the jurisdictions at the link. Many other jurisdictions are examining the possibility of creating similar programs, and the Commission is pleased to offer technical support. For more information, please contact Kelly Russo at the ABA Washington Office at 202/662-1699 or via e-mail at [email protected].

Mr. W.'s Success Story

"Mr. W, age 56, lived in a tent in Charleston, SC, making a living by panhandling. As Charleston tightened anti-panhandling laws, Mr. W received a series of citations. Mr. W. also had no ID and suffered from multiple medical issues. He was referred to One80 Place Legal Services for possible admission into Homeless Court. If Mr. W. agreed to receive help in finding housing and getting medical treatment, obtaining the necessary ID, and applying for Social Security disability, in recognition of his efforts to end his homelessness his citations would be dismissed through Homeless Court. Over time he achieved these goals and presented the information to the judge. The judge congratulated Mr. W on his efforts and led a round of applause--now Mr. W. lives in a furnished apartment and no longer receives citations for sitting on the sidewalk."

Homeless Court Resources

View guides, policy, and more on homeless courts.

Join Us

We welcome you to join us. Lawyers working in government or legal/public service not-for-profit organizations engaged primarily in legal- or policy-based advocacy for low income persons qualify for reduced dues as members of the American Bar Association.

Donate Today

Your charitable gift supports a network of existing and forthcoming homeless courts and breaks down legal barriers for our neighbors experiencing homelessness and poverty.