Shut Out: How Barriers Often Prevent Meaningful Access to Emergency Shelter

44 Pages Posted: 10 May 2016 Last revised: 20 May 2016

See all articles by Suzanne Skinner

Suzanne Skinner

Seattle University School of Law

Sara Rankin

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: May 9, 2016

Abstract

Most cities fine and even jail homeless people for living outside on the assumption that their alternative is to access homeless shelters. This brief finds that assumption deeply flawed. This first-ever study of shelters discloses that shelters have insufficient beds to meet the demand, and rules that bar entry to many homeless people. Most shelters only serve single males or females — they automatically exclude families, LGBTQ youth, and couples. For many then, shelters are not an alternative. The brief offers several recommendations to encourage cities to stop criminalizing homelessness and to instead pursue non-punitive alternatives.

Keywords: Shelter, Homeless, Constitutional Law, Housing

Suggested Citation

Skinner, Suzanne and Rankin, Sara, Shut Out: How Barriers Often Prevent Meaningful Access to Emergency Shelter (May 9, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2776421 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2776421

Suzanne Skinner

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

1215 E Columbia St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 398-4000 (Phone)

Sara Rankin (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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