National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

Changing Laws, Changing Lives

aka NLCHP   |   Washington, DC   |  www.nlchp.org

Mission

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty is the only national organization dedicated solely to using the power of the law to prevent and end homelessness in America. With the support of an extensive network of pro bono lawyers, we use our legal expertise to help pass, implement and enforce laws addressing the immediate and long-term needs of those who are homeless or at risk. In partnership with state and local advocates, we work towards strengthening the social safety net through advocacy and advocacy training, public education, and impact litigation.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Law Center works with an extensive network law firms and corporate legal departments that donate millions of dollars of pro bono legal services to support our programs each year. We benefited from over $6 million in pro bono legal support in 2017 alone.

Ruling year info

1989

Founder and Executive Director

Ms. Maria Foscarinis

Main address

2000 M Street NW Suite 210

Washington, DC 20036 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1633883

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The National Homelessness Law Center operates programs across the United States that serve America's more than 3.5 million homeless families, children and individuals. We believe that the right to a home and food and the rights of children to go to school lie at the heart of human dignity, and we envision a world where no one has to go without the basics of human survival.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Civil and Human Rights

This program protects the basic civil and human rights of homeless persons and fights practices and laws that punish homeless persons for ordinary life-sustaining activities. The Law Center actively promotes constructive alternatives to such laws, such as housing and services.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

This program works to increase affordable housing resources and protect housing rights for homeless and at-risk people, including those affected by the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

This program ensures homeless children's access to education and other services, primarily through implementing provisions in the federal McKinney-Vento Act that protect homeless children's rights to a stable education and free school meals, and their families' access to housing, employment and other services.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of advocate or trained spokesperson citations in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Housing Rights

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We are regualrly called upon by the media, and also issue press releases and op-eds, to educate the public and policymakers about homelessness and solutions to it.

Number of new advocates recruited

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Civil and Human Rights

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign reached 1,000 endorsers, including high profile law enforcement and city officials, to support our efforts to stop criminalizing homelessness in favor of housing.

Number of policies formally blocked

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Civil and Human Rights

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We successfully advocated for repeal or modification of laws that criminalize homeless people for lifes ustaining activities--like sleeping--in public in the absence of alternatives.

Number of policies formally established

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Housing Rights

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We secured 17 new laws or policies protecting housing rights for homeless and at risk people.

Number of research or policy analysis products developed, e.g., reports, briefs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Civil and Human Rights

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We published 5 major reports in 2019.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The National Homelessness Law Center aims to achieve a world where human beings have the right to a basic standard of living that includes safe, affordable housing, healthcare, and freedom from discrimination and cruelty. We work to expand access to affordable housing, meet the immediate and long-term needs of those who are homeless or at risk, and strengthen the social safety net. We envision an end to homelessness in America. A home for every family and individual will be the norm and not the exception---a right and not a privilege.

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. We use our legal expertise to help pass, implement, and enforce laws addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Through training and technical support, the Law Center also enhances the capacity of local and national groups to become more effective voices for the needs and rights of homeless people.

The National Homelessness Law Center's staff is comprised primarily of attorneys, which is unique in the national homeless advocacy space and gives us a complete understanding of how laws are passed, what they mean, and what their impact will be on individual people. Law Center attorneys are experts on homelessness and poverty issues and include specialists in housing, civil rights, human rights, youth and education, and domestic violence. The Law Center also utilizes a large network of pro bono attorneys at major law firms and corporate legal departments to help carry out our work.

Since the organization's founding in 1989, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has accomplished numerous victories in the courts and in public policy on behalf of homeless Americans. The Law Center's founder, Maria Foscarinis, was a key architect of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation to address homelessness. In 2013, after three years of advocacy, we won a major victory that protects survivors of domestic violence when Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, extending housing protections for victims of domestic violence to some 4 million additional housing units nationally. In 2016 we won major improvements to the education rights of homeless children as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Education Program that upholds and protects homeless kids' education rights so that children have the tools they need to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Also in 2016, a federal court ruled that voters in Wisconsin who have trouble obtaining identification---often a problem for people experiencing homelessness---can still vote. Throughout the years, the Law Center has issued reports on homelessness, which are covered widely in the media and used by social service organizations. In the coming year, the Law Center is focused on ending the "criminalization" of homelessness, an effort to make illegal activities such as resting, eating, and sleeping in public. In addition to launching our Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign, bringing together over 100 organizations committed to ending the criminalization of homelessness, the Law Center has three cases pending in federal court challenging laws that discriminate against homeless people.

Financials

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

Board of directors
as of 2/10/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Eric Bensky

Murphy & McGonigle PC

Kirsten Johnson-Obey

NeighborWorks

Robert Ryan

American Red Cross

Eric Bensky

Murphy & McGonigle PC

Paul Caron

Microsoft Corporation

Bruce Casino

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Dwight Fettig

Porterfield, Lowenthal, Fettig & Sears, LLC

Georgia Kazakis

Covington & Burling LLP

Pamela Malester

Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (retired)

G.W. Rolle

Missio Dei Church

Jeffrey Simes

Goodwin Procter LLP

Robert Warren

People for Fairness Coalition

Maria Foscarinis

Founder & Executive Director

Rajib Chanda

Simpson, Thacher, & Bartlett LLP

Deborah Greenspan

Blank Rome LLP

Edward McNicholas

Ropes & Gray LLP

Matthew Murchison

Latham & Watkins LLP

Franklin Turner

McCarter & English LLP

Suzanne Turner

Dechert LLP

Khadijah Williams

Rocketship Public Schools

Julia Jordan

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/10/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data