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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

What Is Fair Housing If You Have No Housing?

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2016 | 4:20 PM

In April 1968, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law as riots and fires burned around the country following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In honor of that achievement, April is now named Fair Housing month. And this last week of the month is now re-entry week,...

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Homeless Human Rights Report Card: U.S. Is Barely Passing, Despite Progress in 2015

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 6:10 PM

December 10 is Human Rights Day, an annual commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - and a key moment to assess our country's status in addressing the human rights of homeless Americans in 2015.

The year brought critical recognition that the human rights of homeless Americans are being...

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This Week's Timely Reminder from Pope Francis

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 11:56 AM

This week, Pope Francis has been in Washington, D.C. - at the White House, Capitol Hill, the Basilica, and a homeless shelter. This pope, a massively popular cultural star and hero to many, has touched a nerve in his approach to poverty. At a time when Los Angeles,...

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10 Years After Katrina: Reflections on Injustice, Advocacy and Reasons for Hope

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 2:41 PM

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, and together with the flooding in its aftermath created hundreds of thousands of newly homeless men, women and children. Ten years later, let's reflect again on this devastating event -- and on some lessons, injustices and still unfinished business --...

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Ferguson, New York, and the Criminalization of Poverty

(1) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 5:49 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 | 11:19 AM

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 | 11:38 AM

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 | 10:50 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 | 12:10 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 | 4:07 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 | 3:37 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 | 5:12 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 | 10:36 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 | 12:26 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 | 11:08 AM

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 | 7:35 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 | 11:19 AM

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 | 1:09 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 | 12:15 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 | 1:35 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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