Homeless Courts

Homeless Court programs often target homeless veterans, therefore their mission emulates Veterans Courts. Homeless Courts work closely with community shelters and other housing agencies and focus on promoting access to court. Homeless Courts frequently assist participants with outstanding criminal warrants and aim to reduce recidivism for nonviolent low-level offenders. Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.

Featured Links

  • Claudia Lopez.Homeless Courts. (2017). A homeless court is a problem-solving court for handling minor offenses. These courts emphasize the treatment and rehabilitation of homeless offenders.
  • Charleston Has 2nd Homeless Court in South Carolina. (October 2016). At the request of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission, Chief Justice Pleicones signed an order creating a Homeless Court Program in Charleston. The first designated homeless court in South Carolina started in Columbia in 2015.
  • Taking the Court to Stand Down. The American Bar Association and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. 2006. This comprehensive guide for creating homeless courts details the history of San Diego's Stand Down Court created in 1989. The guide includes sample materials and maps of courtroom set-up.
  • San Diego's Homeless Court. The San Diego Homeless Court Program (HCP) is a special Superior Court session for homeless defendants, convened in a homeless shelter, to resolve outstanding misdemeanor offenses and warrants. The HCP builds on partnerships between the court, prosecutor, public defender, and local service agencies to help resolve the problems that homelessness represents with practical and effective solutions.
  • Houston's Homeless Court. Homeless Court (HC) is a special court session for homeless defendants to resolve outstanding misdemeanor offenses and warrants within the City of Houston's Municipal Courts. Based on San Diego's model, Houston's HC addresses the full range of misdemeanor offenses and no one goes into custody.
  • Maricopa County's Homeless Court. The Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court (MCRHC) began as a collaboration among the Phoenix, Tempe and Glendale Municipal Courts in 2006. With the support of Maricopa County, the RHC has expanded to allow participation by all 26 Justice Courts in Maricopa County and all 23 Municipal Courts in Maricopa County. MCRHC's goal is to resolve outstanding minor misdemeanor, victimless offenses and warrants for homeless individuals who demonstrate commitment to end their homelessness.