In the mid-1980s, Maria Foscarinis was a litigator at Sullivan & Cromwell, where she volunteered to represent homeless families on a pro bono basis. After seeing the impact of first-rate legal advocacy on the lives of homeless people, she left the firm to dedicate herself to that work full-time. A pioneer in national advocacy, Maria is a primary architect of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act.
Guided by Maria’s vision, the National Homelessness Law Center has used the power of the law to advocate in legislatures and courts across the country for millions of men, women, children and families whose voices are seldom heard.
Honoring this vision is exactly why the Foscarinis Fund was created, and why the Law Center has created a first-of-its-kind fellowship – the Justice Fellowship – with Foscarinis Fund donations. The Justice Fellowship enables the Law Center—and civil legal aid partners across the country—to pursue and prioritize the advocacy that have pushed us to real reform. Read about our 2023 Justice Fellow below!
Support future Justice Fellows below with a donation to the Foscarinis Fund!
As of 2.24.2022
2023 Justice Fellow
We are delighted to announce the first annual Justice Fellow, Jane Harless!
After a rigorous search yielding applicants from across the country, the Law Center was pleased to select Jane Harless, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (LASEVA), as its inaugural Justice Fellow. At LASEVA, Jane practices in the Disability Rights and Homeless Outreach and Prevention Unit assisting unhoused persons on a variety of matters, primarily ensuring her clients receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
During her six-month Justice Fellowship, Jane is developing litigation strategies to challenge the criminalization of homelessness, increase access to federal benefits for persons with severe mental illnesses, and create a court-based advocate system for unhoused persons in Norfolk, Virginia.
As an attorney at LASEVA, which provides representation in civil matters to low-income and vulnerable families of eastern Virginia, Jane would not have had the opportunity to pursue these systemic reform efforts while carrying her typically large caseload of individual matters. The Justice Fellowship has enabled Jane to take a sabbatical from LASEVA and work with the Law Center team to protect the rights of unhoused persons while increasing access to justice in eastern Virginia. Now, that’s Justice!
As Jane continues to champion justice for unhoused persons in southern Virginia, we are already looking to support the next Fellow!