Homelessness Action Legal Team

What is HALT?

The Homelessness Action Legal Team (HALT) is a national legal community serving and protecting the unhoused community and those at risk of becoming unhoused. HALT members serve as core support for the National Homelessness Law Center to achieve our mission to fearlessly advance federal, state, and local policies to prevent and end homelessness while fiercely defending the rights of all unhoused persons.

Through membership in HALT, the Law Center offers law firms and corporate legal departments many opportunities to leverage pro bono legal services. HALT members participate in the fight to end homelessness through litigating educational rights for children, challenging anti-camping laws, researching the impact of criminalization, and more.

Why join HALT?

By choosing to partner with the Law Center through HALT, our Pro Bono Partners are able to align their organizational values with our vision to cultivate a society where every person can live with dignity and enjoy basic human rights, including the right to affordable, quality, and safe housing. HALT members receive special recognition throughout the year and invitations to exclusive HALT events. HALT members not only work on high-profile pro bono projects that address systemic injustices and help prevent and end homelessness, but they also have the opportunity to proactively weigh in on our homelessness advocacy strategy.


HALT Members maximize their impact and shift from one-off pro bono projects towards long-term commitments and relationships, changing the legal landscape surrounding homelessness.


HALT gives our members a way to support and develop emerging leaders in their organization through the Liaison Steering Committee, offering opportunities to network with other pro bono associates.


HALT members are leading the fight to end homelessness through litigating educational rights for children, challenging anticamping laws, researching the impact of criminalization, and more.


The National Homelessness Law Center seek the brightest minds working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society to join our HALT Think Tank. Make a difference today!

Join the HALT Steering Committee

The Law Center is excited to announce the launch of the HALT Steering Committee beginning this fall! The steering committee is an opportunity for emerging leaders from each HALT firm to convene and discuss their firm’s projects, share resources, and deepen their knowledge of homelessness issues. If there is an associate at your firm who you think would be a good fit for this program, please contact jclary@homelesslaw.org.

Join HALT Today!

Ready to join HALT and make a difference in the fight to end homelessness? Email our Development Director, Jennifer Clary, at jclary@homelesslaw.org.

35 Years of Impact DISCOUNT

In honor of the Law Center’s 35th anniversary, we are offering a discounted introductory rate to HALT of $3,500!

We welcome any interested law firm, corporate partner, and community advocate to join us.

Pledge your membership before August 31, 2024 to receive the discounted rate!​

HALT & Pro Bono Victories

The National Homelessness Law Center is proud to have helped deliver 46 friend of the court briefs in the landmark case, Johnson v. Grants Pass. These briefs reflect support from more than 1,100 groups and public figures who join us in calling for protection under the U.S. Constitution of the rights of over 260,000 Americans who sleep outside every night. Johnson v. Grants Pass is the most important legal case regarding homelessness in the past 40 years. The Supreme Court will decide if cities and states that jail or ticket people who sleep outside when there is nowhere else to go violate the Eighth Amendment’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

HALT and Pro Bono partners were instrumental in helping the Law Center draft and file these briefs to show the Supreme Court how strong the movement to end homelessness truly is. Thank you to our HALT members Goodwin Procter, Dechert, and Alston & Bird for their invaluable support.

Starting in 2018, following a string of three consecutive busy years for hurricanes, the Law Center received disturbing reports of unhoused persons being discriminated against when seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shelter, housing, and other support offered to newly homeless victims after natural disasters.

The Law Center and National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) engaged the pro bono assistance of McCarter & English to help pursue a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for FEMA policies and procedures related to determining eligibility for post-disaster resources.

Throughout many years of working together the, McCarter & English team including Franklin Turner (a Law Center Board Member), Ethan Brown, Kevin Conoscenti, Alexander Major, and Thomas Terebesi continued to fight for the FOIA requests from FEMA, ultimately resulting in a final disclosure earlier this month with far more information than initially shared by the agency. Not all requested information was disclosed, and the team is currently evaluating next steps. However, the information that was gained has been instrumental in larger efforts to get Congress to consider the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act that would create a permanently authorized disaster fund to replace the ad hoc approach taken with previous disasters, and ensure non-discrimination in the distribution of those resources. In fact, earlier this year on January 19, informed by FEMA’s disclosures, NLIHC President Diane Yentel gave testimony before the subcommittee on the House Financial Services Committee urging Congress to pass the Act.

The Law Center and NLIHC are deeply grateful to the attorneys at McCarter & English who are helping ensure more fair and equitable treatment of victims of future disasters. We are grateful that McCarter & English have been long time members of our Homelessness Action Legal Team(HALT) and supporters of the Law Center. Please consider joining HALT and multiply the impact of your pro-bono work!

Thank you to Latham and Watkins for Helping Get the “Good Cause Exception” Passed in Washington State!

In early 2022, our HALT Partners at Latham Watkins helped score a major victory in Washington state for unhoused people seeking public assistance. In early March 2022, SB 5729 in Washington passed unanimously in both houses and was signed by the governor later that month. SB 5729 allows a good cause exception for late public benefit hearing requests due to housing instability, and went into effect in July 2023. This exception ensures that people experiencing homelessness will not lose their chance to appeal terminations of cash and other assistance. Link to the bill is here: 5729-S.PL

Major thanks go to Clint Summers and Topher Turner from Latham Watkins who provided technical assistance to the Law Center in advising local advocates on the interplay of federal and state law regarding public benefits and in drafting a model good cause bill that other states can use; building on the success in Washington state.

Thank you to HALT Member Alston & Bird for Neutralizing Georgia’s So-Called “Reducing Street Homelessness Act of 2022!”  

The Law Center is grateful for HALT Member, Alston & Bird’s, efforts to neutralize GA SB 535 – Reducing Street Homelessness Act of 2022! If enacted, SB 535 would have redirected Georgia’s American Rescue Plan funds from the Housing HUD intended for development of permanent housing into legalized encampments, while also creating a statewide camping ban and requiring communities to enforce it or risk losing all state housing funding, as well as making it easier to involuntarily commit people experiencing homelessness with mental illness. Moreover, this bill would have harmed not just Georgia’s residents, but because it is template legislation being promoted by the Cicero Institute, it could have led to introduction of similar measures in other states.  

Because homelessness has a disparate racial impact as well as disparate impacts on persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+ populations, policies like SB 535 that criminalize homelessness exacerbate gaps in arrests, incarceration, fines and fees, and other collateral consequences of criminal justice. Alston’s Mary Benton saw the project through her work on the Homelessness Committee of the Law Firm Anti-racism Alliance (LFAA), and jumped on the chance to provide the quick legal research needed to bolster local advocates’ arguments and stop the bill from passing, in partnership with a team from Brownstein Hyatt Fabrer Schreck who was doing research on a parallel bill in Arizona. 

Thanks to the research provided by lawyers at Alston, instead of passing SB 535, Georgia passed a bill to create a study committee on addressing the unsheltered homelessness crisis. While we agree there is an urgent crisis, we are concerned that this committee will continue to promote ineffective and harmful policies based in a criminal justice response rather than housing. We look forward to continuing to work with Alston and other members of our HALT team to ensure the committee receives accurate information and hopefully promote constructive responses that will help end homelessness in Georgia. 

In February 2021, the Law Center settled our landmark case Martin v. Boise, in conjunction with HALT Member Latham & Watkins and Idaho Legal Aid which includes $1.3 Million in new funding to provide housing, shelter and services for Boise’s homeless community.

In partnership with hundreds of other national and local organizations, the Law Center won multiple extensions of the national eviction moratorium and billions of dollars in emergency rental payments in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Thanks to the support of our Pro Bono Partner, Baker Donelson, the Law Center has been able to release the annual State Index on Youth Homelessness to illustrate the current state of legislative efforts to address youth homelessness, serve as a know your rights tool for currently unhoused youth, and suggest policies as a pathway forward. In early 2024 this tool was reimagined to focus primarily on housing policy – accessing, affording, and maintaining safe and habitable housing, free from discrimination and with additional supports and resources for youth who want them. It also focuses on systems that can help prevent (or that can cause) homelessness. Check out this incredible tool here.

HALT Events

HALT Think Tank Series

To deepen HALT’s impact, the National Homelessness Law Center has launched the HALT Think Tank; a series of discussions each year about the Law Center’s legal and legislative strategy where we will provide opportunities to learn how you can support this critical civil and human rights work!

HALT Think Tank: Recapping Johnson v. Grants Pass and What Comes Next – Tuesday June 11, 2024

With the Supreme Court expected to issue their ruling in the historic case Johnson v. Grants Pass by late June, this year’s HALT Lunch will focus on debriefing the case, what the outcome could mean for over 600,000 unhoused Americans, and how our pro bono partners can help answer the call!

The event will feature the attorneys at the Oregon Law Center and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection who worked directly on the case, with the opportunity for a Q&A.

In person attendance is limited to the first 45 registrants, virtual attendance will be open for all. For in person attendees, food will be provided and there will be time for networking between 1:00pm – 1:30pm EST.

HALT Think Tank: Ending Youth Homelessness – Tuesday February 27, 2024

On a single night in 2023, 34,703 unaccompanied youth were counted as homeless. 90.6 percent were between the ages of 18-24, the remainder were under 18. Nearly 41 percent of homeless youth are unsheltered. Every year, over millions of students attend public schools while they are experiencing homelessness. The numbers are increasing every year! Join us to learn how the Law Center has been working to address Youth Homelessness across the country and how you can get involved!

2023 HALT Think Tank Wrap Up – Tuesday September 26, 2023

In the last event of the 2023 series, join the Law Center’s Decriminalization Director, Will Knight, and discuss the short-sighted and harmful consequences of the criminalization of homelessness and strategies for how our pro bono partners can counter this cross-state trend. Attendees will also hear from key HALT Member Partners who have worked to successfully counter this threat in 2023 and strategize the future of our pro bono and advocacy work around criminalization. Register today to join this virtual event at the link below!

2023 HALT LunchTuesday May 23, 2023

The annual HALT Lunch serves as an opportunity to educate and inform the Law Center’s Pro Bono Community and HALT Members about some of the most pressing issues impacting people experiencing homelessness and present potential solutions to deal with the crisis. At the 2023 HALT Lunch, Keynote Speaker Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Kristen Clarke, highlighted some of the Division’s ongoing work around criminalization of homelessness.

HALT Think Tank Kick Off – February 27, 2023

At the first Think Tank meeting, representatives from HALT Member firms discussed the work they have done to push our legal and legislative goals forward!

For more details and to join HALT, view our HALT information sheet, complete our 2023 HALT membership form, and contact Jennifer Toth Clary at jclary@homelesslaw.org.

Thank you to our current HALT members!

Racial Equity Mission

We recognize structural racism as a root cause of homelessness. Over half of the homeless population in the United States are persons of color—nearly 40% of those persons are Black or African American. We understand our Nation’s long struggle with racism in all forms, as well as the direct, and collateral consequences resulting from structural racism. Racism’s reach has touched every institution and all areas of activity in our society. Homelessness is not exempt; therefore, we believe that ending homelessness cannot happen without addressing racial inequity.

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