Sunday, November 27, 2016
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless were the creative forces behind the development of Housing Not Handcuffs. HNH is focused on ending homelessness, but recognizing that a current barrier is the criminalization of living in public. As the number of homeless in our country has risen, so has the wave of laws that criminalize poverty.
One absurd and punitive nature of laws criminalizing homelessness is to create criminal records for those who need housing. Yet, the no-criminal records renting policy of many private and public landlords, deprives those whose housing need is greatest from achieving their goal of adequate and secure shelter.
HNH encourages localities to adopt policies that incorporate the goal of creating affordable housing as a way to end homelessness rather than short sighted and self-defeating arrests.
Preventing unlawful evictions is another method of preventing homelessness. Preventing eviction is tied significantly to the movement to provide counsel for those being evicted. We have written before on the right to counsel and for more information see the website for the National Coalition for the Civil Right to Counsel. NCCRC is one of the HNH supporting organizations.