The Law Center’s won a big victory in its ongoing legal battle with the Obama Administration. A federal court says the Administration has to turn over hundreds of documents in a case that may decide the future of an important homeless aid program.
We don’t think the Administration is complying with Title V of the McKinney-Vento Act, a law that lets homeless service providers access unused federal property for free. Not many people know about it, but Title V helps over 2.4 million homeless people each year. That’s a big impact for a program that flies under the radar.
This litigation is part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to scrap Title V and turn a profit on unused properties. It’s trying to push legislation through Congress, even as it provides no evidence it’s even complying with the current law.
In June, the Administration brought a motion to vacate a 22 year-old injunction governing how it runs Title V, saying it has an “unassailable record” of complying with the law. We asked to see some evidence to back it up, but remarkably, the Administration provided documents that were up to 100 percent redacted — literally blank. Here’s a sample.
For an Administration that says it’s committed to government transparency and ending homelessness, this doesn’t make a lot of sense.
In his ruling, Judge Royce C. Lamberth said it was “baffling” that the Administration thought the court would accept its claim of compliance “on nothing other than [its] own say-so.”
Thankfully, the court knows what’s at stake too. Judge Lamberth remarked that this case “has real consequences for people who have fallen about as far down in the depths as one can in this country.”
He hit the nail right on the head. Title V has no shortage of success stories.
Westwood Transitional Village in Los Angeles provides housing and supportive services to 150 women, children, and men. When families leave the program, they’re ready to live on their own for the rest of their lives. Bay Cove Human Services of South Weymouth’s award-winning substance abuse program has helped more than 10,000 homeless people recover from addiction since opening its doors in 1999.
This isn’t about injunctions and discovery m0tions and property suitability. This is about people living on the street while we’ve got empty buildings. The law is a tool with which we attack injustice; it’s a means to achieve a state of moral good.
If you want to find out how you can get involved in our advocacy to protect Title V, contact Jeremy Rosen, our policy director.
– Andy Beres, Development & Communications Coordinator