Faith Is the First Step: Faith-Based Solutions to Homelessness
Kate Means, Seattle University Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, Faith Is the First Step: Faith-Based Solutions to Homelessness (Sara Rankin Ed., 2018)
64 Pages Posted: 4 May 2018 Last revised: 13 May 2018
Date Written: May 3, 2018
This brief guides faith leaders interested in providing homeless services on their land, highlighting legal and operational considerations and community education and outreach. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have been important social services providers throughout history. Today, they continue to play an important role with specific legal protections. Indeed, FBOs enjoy special legal protections for their religious practice, which may allow them to provide shelter even if otherwise prohibited by local law. Any FBO with the desire to address homelessness on its land should be able to do so, and this brief sets forth best practices based on successful case studies in Washington and Colorado.
Among other recommendations, this brief recommends FBO hosts build partnerships with other organizations, be prepared to face opposition from neighbors and politicians by communicating effectively about homelessness, and make an effort not to exclude groups of homeless people who are often not welcome in shelters.
Keywords: religion, land use, property, law, religious, RLUIPA, First Amendment, constitutional law, ADA, faith, homeless, shelter
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