University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Marta Beresin


In September 2012, Mary Brown called the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (the Legal Clinic); she was being threatenedwith the loss of her children, then eight- and nine-years-old, for the sole reason that she was homeless. Before she sought legal advice, Mary had requested shelter for her family but had been denied. The irony of Mary's case is that the D.C. government agreed she was homeless and agreed that she needed to shelter her two daughters for their safety, but instead of sheltering her, the D.C. government reported her to child protective services. Mary and her daughters were turned away from shelter even though there were empty beds in theD.C. family shelter system.' This article is about the catch-22 that Mary and other parents who are homeless across the United States experience,2 why it must be changed, and what advocates can do to change it.

First Page