The Legal Right to Shelter for Homeless Families

September 17th will be remembered as an historic day in the struggle to ensure fundamental protections for homeless New Yorkers: The signing of a landmark court order establishing an enforceable, legal right to shelter for homeless families with children.

The court order is the result of years of litigation on behalf of homeless families by the Legal Aid Society, and it builds on the landmark 1981 consent decree in Callahan v. Carey that affirmed the legal right to shelter for homeless single men and women.

Thanks to these two historic legal victories, New York City remains the only city in the United States with a legal guarantee of emergency shelter from the elements for homeless children and adults.

The New York Times’ City Room blog has a good account of the September 17th legal settlement. And here is a statement on the legal victory by the Coalition’s executive director, Mary Brosnahan.