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May 24, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Photo by: Sonia J. Stamm
Hiding the Homeless
Last Featured: 1/13/2003

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

Can you really fine the homeless? It's a question posed by advocates for the poor in response to anti-vagrancy ordinances popping up across the nation. In urban centers and downtown areas, local governments are restricting panhandling, sleeping in public spaces, and even sitting on the sidewalk. City officials say it makes the streets safer, helps attract tourists, improves the business climate and that creates opportunities for the jobless. But homeless rights activists argue that criminalizing homelessness is no substitute for jobs programs, safe shelters, mental health and other services that the homeless need to survive. Fining and jailing the poor, they note, is not a deterrent to poverty. Are these laws needed to re-invigorate ailing cities or excuses to remove the problem from sight?

Robert Ellickson is Walter E. Meyer Professor of Property and Urban Law at the Yale Law School. Before joining the Yale faculty in 1988, he was the Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law at the Stanford Law School. He specializes in property law, including land-use regulation, land transfer and finance, and housing and urban issues. He has written a number of scholarly articles on homelessness in the United States.

Maria Foscarinis is founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, established in 1989 as the legal arm of the nationwide effort to end homelessness. She is a primary architect of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation addressing homelessness, and she has litigated to secure the legal rights of homeless persons. A graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School, Ms. Foscarinis has written and lectured widely on legal and policy issues affecting homeless persons.

Closing Quote
"The most important thing a man can know is that as he approaches his own door someone on the other side is listening for the sound of his footsteps."

— Clark Gable

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Join the Debate
NOTE: Justice Talking Blogs and Forums have been closed.
Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
New York Times Article
National Housing Institute
On Duty Magazine
San Pablo Avenue Times
The Doe Fund
National Homeless Civil Rights Organizing Project
World Homeless Union
Homeless Advocacy Project
Down & Out, on the Road: The Homeless in American History
by Kenneth L. Kusmer
The Way Home: Ending Homelessness in America
by Jodi Cobb (Editor), Nan Roman, Philip Brookman (Editor), Jane slat Siena, Tipper Gore
The US Economy
Fixing the Mortgage Mess
Can We End Homelessness in 10 Years?