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Maria Foscarinis
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Maria Foscarinis, a lawyer, is founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. She is a contributing author to the recently released Mandate for Change: Policies and Leadership for 2009 and Beyond (Lexington Books).

Entries by Maria Foscarinis

Ferguson, New York, and the Criminalization of Poverty

(1) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 6:49 PM

Mike Brown was walking in the middle of the street when he was ordered to get on the sidewalk.

Eric Garner was selling dollar cigarettes on the street without collecting tax.

These minor crimes became the focus of police action, reflecting an approach to crime and policing that favors attacking...

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Domestic Violence, Housing, and a Human Rights Win for U.S. Women

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 12:19 PM

March 8 is International Women's Day, and it's especially timely for us in the U.S. this year. The recent enactment of legislation reauthorizing and strengthening the Violence Against Women Act is a landmark event for women, and especially low-income women, in the U.S. The new law adds greater...

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Two Reports, One Conclusion: Do More to End Homelessness

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 12:38 PM

On December 10, Human Rights Day, two national reports were released. The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) published its annual report card evaluating U.S. compliance with the human right to housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued its annual report on homelessness...

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End the Violence, Ensure Housing for All

(2) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 11:50 AM

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it's an important occasion for spotlighting this critical issue. Violence, both domestic and public, is a daily reality for too many Americans, and it's especially acute for people who are poor or homeless.

Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness -- for...

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Kafka's America -- or, Getting a Photo ID

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 1:10 PM

As election season heats up, state photo ID laws are in the news. Reading some of the coverage, though, it can be hard to fully appreciate the significance of the issues they raise and the potentially enormous impact they can have.

These laws, in place or pending in 44 states,...

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Homelessness: 25 Years Later, It's Time to Recognize the Human Right to Housing

(1) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 5:07 PM

This Sunday, July 22, marks the 25th anniversary of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation to address homelessness. It's a bittersweet occasion: while the Act has helped, homelessness continues to grow. More action is urgently needed.

Landmark legislation when it was first enacted in 1987,...

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Attack Homelessness, Not Homeless People

(4) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 4:37 PM

As unemployment and foreclosures continue to drive record increases in homelessness, many cities are stepping up efforts to criminalize it. That's wrong, ineffective and costly. But some communities are bucking the trend, demonstrating that there is a better way.

Rising homelessness and a ruptured safety net mean that...

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Telling the Truth About Homelessness

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2012 | 6:12 PM

Foreclosures and unemployment are pushing middle class and low-income Americans out of their homes, and emergency shelters and food pantries are seeing record increases in demand for their services. Yet some recent reports suggest that homelessness is not increasing significantly. This is due to both flaws...

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Impact of Recession Still Being Felt by Children, Schools

(1) Comments | Posted March 15, 2012 | 11:36 AM

According to recent reports, the economy is showing signs of recovery. But the impact of the recession, particularly on children, will be felt far into the future.

As the foreclosure crisis and continued unemployment push poverty to record levels , many Americans are sliding into homelessness. The Obama...

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If Corporations Are People, Can Homeless People Be Hotspots?

(10) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 1:26 PM

If corporations are people, does that mean that homeless people can be hotspots? BHH thinks they can. I beg to differ.

A marketing agency, BBH, hired homeless people to walk around carrying mobile Wi-Fi devices at a technology conference, promoting what it hoped would be an appealing idea:...

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Homelessness Policy: Time for Another Paradigm Shift

(3) Comments | Posted August 2, 2011 | 12:08 PM

Last month marked twenty-four years since landmark federal homelessness legislation was signed into law. The Act, now known as the McKinney-Vento Act, was the first major federal legislation addressing homelessness. And while it remains critically important, it's time for a new approach.

Since the law was first enacted...

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When are Budget Cuts 'Too Deep'?

(6) Comments | Posted April 8, 2011 | 8:35 PM

The public debate about the budget crisis is increasingly disconnected from any sense of priority or purpose.

An editorial in The Washington Post praises parts of the 2012 budget proposal put forth earlier this week by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, but worries that proposed cuts to...

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U.S. Should Uphold Homeless Promises To U.N.

(3) Comments | Posted March 19, 2011 | 12:19 PM

Last week, the United States government filed its official response to the recommendations it received from the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of its first-ever comprehensive human rights review.

For advocates working to end homelessness here in the U.S., it was a landmark...

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Too Big to Fail? Homelessness Increases as Help Decreases

(15) Comments | Posted January 13, 2011 | 2:09 PM

A report released yesterday confirmed startling increases in homelessness nationally. It's the second report to do so in the past month. These findings should come as a wake-up call to anyone who cares about the fundamental values on which our country is founded.

The report, "The State...

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Homelessness, Human Rights and the United States

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 1:15 PM

Last week, for the first time, the United States was reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council for its compliance with the entire range of human rights standards adopted by the world community. These include economic and social rights, and the Geneva review was a historic occasion for advocates...

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Sanity, Bipartisanship and Homelessness: The Impact of This Week's Elections

(3) Comments | Posted November 5, 2010 | 2:35 PM

Much of the discussion of this week's election results focuses on the quest for "bipartisanship." As an advocate for homeless people, I'd be happier with a focus on simple sanity.

As played out in recent policy debates in Washington, bipartisanship is simply compromise, deal making and meeting in the...

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Today is World Habitat Day

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2010 | 6:10 PM

Since 1985, the first Monday of October has marked World Habitat Day. The United Nations created the designation as an occasion to reflect on the state of the world's cities and towns and on the right adequate shelter for all, and to "remind the world of its collective responsibility for...

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One in Seven Live in Poverty -- and Counting

(6) Comments | Posted September 16, 2010 | 7:35 PM

The Census Bureau's new poverty data, released today, delivers a shocking statistic: One in seven Americans lived in poverty in 2009.

This number reflects a record increase in poverty over the previous year. In 2009, 14.3% of Americans were poor, up from 13.2% in 2008. This translates...

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The Federal Plan to End Homelessness: An Important Step Forward

(2) Comments | Posted June 22, 2010 | 2:51 PM

Earlier today, the U. S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

The plan is a result of tireless efforts by advocates, government officials, and concerned citizens across the country, and is an unprecedented step forward in the fight to right...

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Arizona on my Mind: The Immigration Law and Homelessness

(3) Comments | Posted May 11, 2010 | 2:48 PM

Late last week, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty joined other civil and human rights organizations in the Arizona boycott, pulling out of a major public interest law conference planned in Phoenix this week for which we had organized a panel.

The boycott was precipitated...

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