June 27, 2018

Sidley Austin LLP
1501 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
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It is imperative to have those with lived experience leading the fight to end homelessness and poverty. If you are unable to purchase a ticket due to your income level, please register for a complimentary ticket here.

Be sure to visit the National Building Museum to see Evicted, an immersive experience inspired by Matthew Desmond's Pulitzer Prize-Winning non-fiction novel, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. The museum will host tours the evening before the Forum, from
3-4 p.m. and 4- 5 p.m, Tuesday, June 26. These tours are RSVP only, and space is limited. Please RSVP to, indicating which time slot and number of attendees. 

Have you endorsed the Housing Not Handcuffs campaign yet? Join over 600 advocacy organizations, public officials, criminal justice professionals, and grassroots activists in the push for affordable housing as a solution to homelessness, not criminalization.

National Forum on the Human Right to Housing:
Using the Power of the Law to End Homelessness

Date: Wednesday, June 27
Time: 8:00am 
Location: Sidley Austin
Cost of Tickets: $100, $75, $50, and free for homeless or low-income attendees


8:00am – 9:00am                     Breakfast & Registration

Beginning at 8:30 | Short Film Discussion: Move Along to Where?: The Tiny House Movement
P.J. D'Amico, The Buck Foundation and Ibrahim Mubarak, Right 2 Survive

9:00am – 9:20am                     Welcome Remarks

  • Robert Warren, People for Fairness Coalition and Board Member, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
  • Paul Zidlicky, D.C. Pro Bono Chair, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

9:30am – 10:30am                   Successes and Challenges

This plenary session will share some important victories (and ongoing challenges) in the fight for Housing Not Handcuffs from the past year. Invited speakers will share about the successful fight for a right to counsel in housing court in New York City; litigation in Orange County, CA that stopped a planned sweep of an 800-person homeless encampment until the county provided alternative housing; the Housing Not Warehousing bills in New York City that will help put vacant properties to use as housing; and the Washington State legislation that helps protect homeless students’ access to education. We will also encourage attendees to briefly share their own victories!

  • Randy Dillard, RTCNYC Coalition
  • Mo George, Picture the Homeless
  • Carol Sobel, Law Office of Carol Sobel
  • Eric Tars, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
  • Mary Van Cleve, Columbia Legal Services 

10:45am - 11:45am                 Preaching Beyond the Choir: Speaking to Be Understood

This plenary session will feature a local elected official, a law enforcement officer, a representative of a Business Improvement District, and a member of the media discussing how advocates can tailor their messaging around homelessness, housing, and criminal justice to resonate with these different audiences to help promote constructive housing and service policies over criminalization of homelessness.

  • Heidi Wegleitner, Dane County Board of Supervisors
  • Deputy Secretary Wendell M. France, Sr. (Ret.), MD Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Retired Major, Baltimore Police Department
  • Linda Kaufmann, DC Business Improvement District
  • Rob Robinson, New York City Continuum of Care 

11:45am – 1:00pm                  Keynote Speaker Leilani Farha

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Adequate Housing 

1:00pm – 2:15pm                   Breakout Sessions: Defining the Challenges, Sharing Tools,

                                                 What's Working - and What's Not?


This breakout session will offer an opportunity to discuss the current state of the law around panhandling ordinances which makes many particularly vulnerable to challenge, but also how some communities are getting more sophisticated to evade constitutional scrutiny. The Law Center will share new resources to help capitalize on the current precedent, and a new strategic campaign to try to get as many of these ordinances struck down as possible, and offer participants an opportunity to help make this campaign as effective as possible. This session will offer an opportunity to begin to dig into complicated questions around anti-panhandling strategy and identify additional ones for future discussion.
  • Maggie Ardiente, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
  • Bob Erlenbusch, Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Michelle Movahed, McCarter & English
  • Eric Tars, National Law Center on Homelessness Poverty
  • Jocelyn Tillisch, Seattle University School of Law
  • Amy Horton-Newell, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty and Montgomery County Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • Additional featured discussants TBA

Homeless encampments are on the rise, and most are under constant threat of eviction. Join us for a discussion of findings and policy recommendations from our Tent City USA report, the first national survey of policies affecting people living in encampments. We will also have frank conversation about what is working - and what is not - to end homelessness for people living in encampments. We will identify areas for improved collaboration between litigators, organizers, and other advocates, and also identify new research and tools to help us meet our advocacy goals.

  • Tristia Bauman, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
  • Paul Boden, Western Regional Advocacy Project
  • Ibrahim Mubarak, Right 2 Survive
  • Evanie Parr, Seattle University School of Law
  • Carol Sobel, Law Office of Carol Sobel
  • Pete White, Los Angeles Community Action Network
Renters' Rights

Renters' rights, like a right to counsel in eviction cases, are proven to prevent homelessness and save communities money. Join us for a discussion of the findings and recommendations from our latest report, Protect Tenants, Prevent Homelessness, and for a conversation about how to strengthen the link between renters' rights and homelessness prevention. We will explore opportunities and resources for coordinated advocacy to advance renters' rights policies within the context of homelessness prevention.

  • Randy Dillard, Bronx Tenants
  • Eric Dunn, National Housing Law Project
  • Janet Hostetler, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
  • Tony Romano, Right to City Alliance
Youth Roundtable

Laws, policies, systems, and environments at the local, state, and federal levels affect youth experiencing homelessness in different ways. This session will identify gaps and problems that stymie efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness. Participants will also identify solutions and discuss best practices and recommendations to coordinate ongoing efforts to address youth homelessness at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Michael Santos, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty facilitator

2:15pm – 2:30pm                    BREAK

– 3:45pm                     Breakouts Continued

  • Panhandling
  • Encampments
  • Renter’s Rights Policy & Organizing
  • Youth Roundtable

4:00pm – 5:00pm                    Report Back & Next Steps
Eric Tars, the Law Center

5:00pm – 5:15pm                    Closing Remarks
Maria Foscarinis, the Law Center
5:30pm – 7:30pm                    Reception

Register for the National Forum on the Human Right to Housing here. Suggested donations for admittance are $100; any contribution is appreciated. Revenue from ticket sales will go toward ensuring those who are currently or formerly experiencing homelessness, or low-income grass roots activists are able to attend the event, as it is critical to have those with firsthand, lived experience leading the conversation.

For Law Firms and Corporations: Become an official sponsor of the Forum and support our work to fight the criminalization of homelessness. Benefits include complimentary tickets for attorneys and summer associates, prominent recognition in all our printed materials and signage, and more. Download our sponsorship form here, or contact Maggie Ardiente at

If you are currently or formerly homeless, or otherwise financially unable to pay for registration to the Forum, please find complimentary tickets available here. To apply for a scholarship for your travel to the event, please send an e-mail to Include information about your need and a brief description of your advocacy on behalf of homeless persons, with the subject line "Forum Scholarship Request."