Who We Are

The Law Center, a 501(c)3 based in Washington, D.C., is the only national legal group dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness.  It operates programs across the United States that serve America’s more than 3.5 million homeless families, children and individuals.

In the mid-1980s, our founder, Maria Foscarinis, was a lawyer working at a large corporate firm when she volunteered to represent homeless families on a pro bono basis.  After seeing the impact of first-rate legal advocacy on the lives of homeless people, Maria left the firm to dedicate herself to that work full-time.  She went on to become an architect of the 1987 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation to address homelessness.  In 1989, she established the Law Center with one goal in mind: ending homelessness in America.

Today, the 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.

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.  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.