Introduction to the Homeless Law Blog

Every day, throughout the day, the homeless have to worry about the law.  Being without a home is not in itself illegal, but the routines and behavior that go with it often are.  Sleeping and grooming in public might also be trespassing, open lewdness, nuisance, loitering, or vagrancy.  Rummaging for food might be theft.  Just walking into a business might offend or frighten people enough that the police are called to remove a homeless patron.  Once arrested, the homeless often do not have proof of identification and cannot afford attorneys.

Even more than the risk of being arrested, the homeless have to concern themselves with when and how the law will protect them. They are victims of attack, unpaid day workers, parties to contracts… citizens with a panoply of needs.  Perhaps they are hassled or have had their possessions taken or damaged.  Maybe they are given spoiled food.  They may want to ask for help from the police or government agencies, but requests are met with demands for personal information.  People who don’t have addresses may be afraid of bad results if they don’t have an answer for every line on a form.

People with these kinds of vulnerability are clearly in need of information.  If they know their rights, they understand what to ask for.  If they can describe a problem in the language of legal and societal institutions, they might get better help.  If they realize how the law relates to them, they feel justified in their claims and validated as humans. Unable to pay for lawyers, the homeless often go to the internet for information.  That is why this blog is here, to help homeless people figure out how to do legal research that will enable them to figure out answers to their legal questions.  Click on one of the categories on the side to see the homeless law research questions.

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12 Comments »

  1. Houseless In Marin [Co., CA] said

    Please reverse the threads with the most recent on top rather than the bottom. At first I thought that this was a dead site seeing posting dates back in 2008. Counterproductive to make readers drill down to current postings. Thanks.

    Houseless in Marin
    [County, California]

    • john-mark said

      Hi there! My name is John-Mark, I am writing to you from Colorado. A friend led me to this site. I am homeless with a dog. I was taken by ambulance to a hospital. They want to collect from me for the ambulance fee and overnight hospital charge. I am homeless with no income or place to live…and now have court hearing to attend. I can’t even attend that hearing to say that I am homeless and have nothing. maybe you are not the right blog for this..but have been unable to share this on this blog site. can you forward this reply in hopes that someone can assist me…thanks so much! you can reach me at dciajm@hotmail.com thanks so much! John-Mark

      • Are you saying that your court hearing is about the fact that you haven’t paid the ambulance and hospital costs? If you truly can’t be at that hearing, you need to notify the court and ask them to reschedule the hearing. Your local legal aid office can help you make your case at the hearing. Here is Colorado’s list of legal aid offices. http://www.coloradolegalservices.org/lawhelp/find-legal-help/directory Most hospitals have social workers available to help indigent patients to apply for financial assistance when they can’t pay their hospital bills. Even though you are out of the hospital now, you might be able to connect with one of those social workers. If the only phone number you have is for the hospital’s billing office, you can ask the billing office to connect you with the social work office or any other office at the hospital that assists indigent patients. Meanwhile, here is a portal to Colorado’s debtor laws. http://www.coloradolegalservices.org/lawhelp/issues/consumer-issues/debt-collection-garnishment-and-repossession

    • Emma hernandez said

      I recently became homeless what happened was that I bought a house together with my mother who i live with for a lot of years due to me having polio syndrome. my parents past away one first then 6 monther later my mother followed. before myy mother pasing she got sick and was in the hospital at the time this our house was only under my mothers name so when she got so sick my oldest sister took a notary public to have my mom sigh over the dead of the house giving me and my other sister 18% and rest for her leaving nothing to my other 3 male brother after my mother got better and was out of the hospital my mother found about it she went to the court house and had the dead overturned she put the house under all her childrens names tto be equially owners. After my mom past the house has been rented for 900 a month my sister is suppost to give all of us money from that but only does what she wants and gives who she wantts. i spoe to her aboutt moving in to the house she said i can go ahead and move on July 5th so i gave my 30 day notice i tryed calling my sister she would not answer my callls i when to speak to the tenant to see what day he was turning the key he said that my sister asked him not to move leaving me homeless i can not go backk to my place its allready rented. I tryied calling her againg she wont talk to me she send me a message that I was going to be able to move in on 8/5 then the same thing happened she gave the tenant another contract for another month is due 9/5. I am getting very sick i dont know what to do I been trying to find somewhere to stay but i havent found anything. I stayed at a hotel payed almost 90 dollars im in a wheelchair and its difficult for me to stay anywhere. I am super swolled from not being able to go to the restroom when i need. can I sue my own sister for doing this its obious she dont care what happens to me she is just so greety. its not fare. I spoke to my other sister yesterday she said i can move on 9/5 i dont know what to believe anymore.

      • If you are right that your mother deeded the house to all of her children to share equally, then the executor or administrator of her estate has to figure out how all of you can each enjoy your share of the house. Usually, when one owner leaves property to multiple heirs one of two things will happen: Either the house gets sold and the heirs each get an equal amount of the profit or the house gets rented and the heirs get equal shares of the profit.

  2. ron said

    what if i use my parents address but dont live there i stay where ever i can

    • monroemackie said

      This is a very long script.
      However I am going everywhere to find out how to deal this and how to exercise my rights.

      Email contents of my reaching out –

      I was evicted from my Upper east side apartment after 10 years last July. 
      It has been extremely difficult to live among women who are undereducated ‎ and just plain uneducated. 

      I will not tell a sad story today. 

      Unfortunately 2‎ and 7, supervisors and program assistants, violated my rights, used force and intentionally confusing me and basically it felt like a rape. 

      They broke laws and advocacy docs and I am so sad today. 

      I have adhd. Aand I have an Anxiety disorder. 
      They walked to my bed while I was away and saw the “very sensical to me ” mess everywhere. 
      I decided to adopt a method of organizing and it involves (among many things) 
      Called the brutal purge it would be the first time (practicing in a cubicle lol) I would ask myself ” do I really need this?”
      Also a commitment to only getting what’s on the shopping list. 
      Approved by my treatment team I begam. 
      When I arrived they screamed at me (in unison) that the mess could’ve killed my bff and roomie. 
      Interesting because although I am not paralyzed I have a very strong spell of a balance di ‎sorder (among other physical problems) where I actually could’ve been “killed too.”
      Except that Jay has 2 eyes that are 20/20 and if I forget she is never shy to tell me to vamoose and take this debacle. 
      I was verbally abused. I attempted to provide 4 documents that excuses my adhd behavior as it is not a place I can develop rituals. So I try every week. 
      They were screaming and I began to yell and watch one tear off my bed pass and my letter that my caseworker assigned me to keep up for my final months here. It actually stated my diagnosis. 
      They said they would move me. I am not easy to tolerate and I am in a room that is not perfect but accept me. 
      I began to breath bad- an anxiety attack was starting. Yet these women excaberated it very almost…intentionally as if they actually have the disbelief of mental illness. and therefore I am a spoiled brat whom they secretly resent because I’m a blonde white and buxom beauty. 
      And I must be trying to get attention. 
      This is unbelievable. One ripped off everything I had on the walls. Doctor consents, pics of my nephew and I was full boown in attack. She then went to my closet door and destroyed and ripped and tore collectibles I wanted that inspire and help me do something meaningful. 
      I am a healthy (actually physically not) I am stable on my medication. I am compliant. And lol I cannot stand these SUPES. But always treated them with dignity and grace as I am a woman once a girl learning that respect isn’t needed to respect ones presence. 
      The collectibles – 2 they threw away. I was so mortified. And I found the rest. One was totally torn. And it has dropped in value from 55 to 3 dollars. 
      My marilyn monroe picture required ‎(must always have a kitschy maryln item. 
      It was torn. To shreds. 
      During my attack they ignored me trying to ask why they were filling up bags of my things. And a game happened. They said no move. Oh wait if u will contue to cry we are moving u etc. 
      The things are under lock and key and has been directed my one not to give back. 
      I asked for cold water cloth for my attack and they just agitated me more. 

      They finally said that it must be done by 5pm (it was 3) or they will be sure to move me as I am such difficult client. 

      My two medical letters state not to put any timeimits on me as I am naturally worse with adhd systems. All my illnesses have become worse. 

      Terrified I in layman’s terms couldn’t find an orderly, pattern like solution. I needed to truly do my Dbt skills. 
      I needed to eat. I needed to rest. 
      So in definition they refused me my treatment and coping skills as though it was meaningless and pointless. Because I’m a ” brat”. 
      I ended up stuffing everything back under the (newly clean by me floor that they neglected since november) bed. I felt like I was lapsing. I felt I had no support. 

      At 10pm I spoke to a SUPE I trust. Apparently the reason for alllll this was because I had too many things. 

      Ugh. Problem is I was amidst THROWING IT AWAY and then keeping only need.s. 

      I am noe unsafe. 
      U believed they planned this. Friday NO ADMINISTRATION was present. 
      This like… unheard if. 
      They knew I couldn’t run to my team and solve this. 
      They are racist. 
      And they are prejudice against the mentally ill. 
      I am in a mental health shelter for women. 
      ?

      I must take action and do what I have to do to report this, go public with, het an advocate, etc. 

      It’s the right thing to do. 

      I knew in my heart and mind that they would do this someday. 
      I mean I felt this sulpher emanating from them. They have never liked me. 
      Because I am efficient, I can and implement a better community there. I am a hated person there. But the women whom truly know me..lets just say their biggest mistake in “business” is to not befriend a person whom lends money, always has an extra ______ to share, I am a woman whom finds and gets things for anyone in need. 

      I’m kind and trustworthy. 

      I just want to be safe. 
      In an environment where no privacy is 24/7(havent been by myself since July. Not kidding. 
      I feel so exposed here as I am acting out in my ways when I feel I am completely helpless hopeless and I my life is not mine. 
      I’m harassed by higher up shelter staff. 
      But my case worker and treatment team see no blemishes or defiance and true accountability. That is my paramount qualuty I treasure. 
      I am sorrounded ‎by uneducated, no sense of self awareness and women who believe my nasal and sinus condition I hack at med level sound and claim it is me being spiteful, faker and so many amazing unfathomable problems with me- I have never known people like this. 

      I am writing because I am actually coping and doing skills in order to not go off the edge. 
      If I don’t them I wouldn’t know myself. 

      They prevented me from tending to my illnesses. 
      They worked angles that they knew would scare me. 
      They have no empathy or regard for mentally ill. 
      They insuate all the time that MI is just attention getting, pretending so one can be lazy, have no responsibility for themselves. Abd that we are…
      Not taken seriously.

      I had a panic attack in a “mental health ” based community and was ignored and unable to do the right things in order to calm down and do skills. 

      This is so wrong. And it ends here. With me. 

      Please help, point me to who can help or provide me amnesty international   ‎so we can nbeak the silence. 

      I was kidding about the 3rd. 

      My last request is that ,..- really wish and hope someone can please validate this and tell me it happened.

      With inner peace and no peace externally,

      Monroe 

      (Cara Celia nagle) is my birthname. 

       ‎

    • Anthony said

      Im in this same position.. I have legal matters in my home state of maryland. Im disabled and homeless. The only place i can find to have mail sent to is in another state.. They take the mail and scan it and email it to my email account.. I access the mail via the public library. So the state of maryland is sending me notices that i have to pay monthly for a legal matter. When i try to set a hearing they tell me to go theu my home state. But im homeless in maryland but they still see me as a resident of another state because my “mailing” address is in another state. Ive explained this over and over and the people I speak to at the maryland government agency sympathize with my situation they say the law is on their side and my mailing address reflects my state of residency.. When i tell them to change my address to no physical address in maryland they insist the ladt mailing address is what is used and no non physical address is allowed. As im homeless this takes away my rights to interact and benifit from the law of the state of maryland. I tried to get a po box with day work money. I was told a po box is not a physical address.. So back to square 1. Even know i live within 6 miles of the stste capitol im still considered as a resident of another state. To make it all totally messed up I called the other state and they said i would need proof of residency in that state to have them petition maryland for anything.. And they see me as a maryland resident because my last drivers license and physical address was in maryland.

      • If you need a street address in Maryland, then use an address service that will give you one. Here is one possibility which provides street addresses in Baltimore. You can still keep your existing address service, if it has benefits that you like. Many people have street addresses in multiple states– for example those who spend the winters in Florida and the summers up North.

  3. Year I ve been going thru these dark sad day

  4. My daughter & grandkids are getting evited today. She’s up to date on her rent. She’s pregnant & has ovarian cancer. Plz I need to know her rights

  5. Kathryn said

    I am looking for some contact information for someone who can help me. I am trying to help a homeless man who has been living outside of my apartment building in Illinois. He is in his 60’s and gets some money from the government (not sure what exactly) and has a criminal record. I am trying to get him an apartment before winter hits but not sure how to accomplish this since most landlords require you to submit a rental application. Please email me if you think you can further advise! kathrynjpatton2@gmail.com

    Thanks so much!
    Kathryn

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