About the Law Center
The National Homelessness Law Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., and seeks to serve as the legal arm of the national movement to end and prevent homelessness. We believe that the human rights to adequate housing, healthcare, food, and education lie at the heart of human dignity and we envision a world where no one has to go without the basics of human survival. While seeking universal enjoyment of human rights, we also understand that homelessness disparately impacts Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities, and those living at the intersections of multiple forms of marginalization and our policy responses must consciously and affirmatively address those inequities.
Since 1989, we have leveraged the power of the public and private bar to amplify the voices and concerns of those directly impacted by homelessness & poverty. Through policy advocacy, public education, and impact litigation, the Law Center’s national programs address the root causes of homelessness and meet the immediate and long-term needs of those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Through training, technical support, and network building, the Law Center also enhances the capacity of local and national groups to become more effective partners in advocating for the needs and rights of people experiencing homelessness.
Today, our team includes attorneys with lived expertise of homelessness, poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination, as well as substantive expertise in housing, civil rights, human rights, public benefits, and youth issues, and other staff with expertise in communications, non-profit development, and operations. Though the Law Center’s staff is small, we leverage four to six times our budget each year in volunteer pro bono legal services, multiplying our impact on behalf of people experiencing homelessness.
The National Homelessness Law Center was founded in 1989 as the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty by Maria Foscarinis, a lawyer who initially volunteered to represent homeless families on a pro bono basis. She was a principal architect of the 1987 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation to address homelessness and founded the Law Center to help ensure the legislation would be properly implemented.