Homeless Court Program: A Way Forward
The Homeless Court Program was established in 2011 in partnership with:
- West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court
- Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
- Committee for Public Council Services
- Pine Street Inn
The Court of Second Chances
Homeless Court is an alternative court session designed to resolve misdemeanor offenses, non-violent felonies and outstanding warrants for homeless individuals who have shown a strong commitment to recovery and stability.
Employers, landlords and others are reluctant to engage applicants with a criminal history, especially those with open charges. At the same time, fear of the court process and the need to cope with the immediate challenges that homelessness presents, make it difficult to resolve legal issues.
Homeless Court is the court of second chances. It provides participants an opportunity to remove default warrants and have criminal cases dismissed with fines and court costs remitted. As a result, legal barriers that prevent them from securing permanent housing, employment, education, drivers’ licenses and other government benefits are eliminated, and individuals are able to move forward with their lives.
“The goal of Homeless Court is to restore and affirm the dignity, self-worth and identity if homeless individuals whose lives have been fractured by substance abuse, mental health challenges and economic hardships.” – Judge Kathleen Coffey, Chief Justice, West Roxbury District Court
Homeless Court is open to any homeless individual who meets the following criteria:
- A warrant (for a missed court date or violation of probation) in Massachusetts
- The case must be a misdemeanor or a non-violent felony.
- The client be homeless or at risk of homelessness
- The client must be receiving services or working with a case manager
Court is held at 11:00 a.m on the third Thursday of each month at Pine Street Inn.
To refer a client or for more information, please contact
Pine Street Inn
444 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118