Mark Malone


Homelessness in urban settings is a problem in increasing numbers, typically as a result of mental instability or unemployment. New York State Legislature has attempted to deal with the homelessness problem, and is at the forefront of those jurisdictions which accord legal rights to homeless people through court decisions and legislation. This note examines the historic causes of homelessness, the purpose of vagrancy and loitering statutes, and why they have proven ineffective in dealing with the enormity of the homelessness problem. The Note concludes that further additions should be made to the New York State Social Services Laws on the basis of policies behind its existing provisions, and the legal doctrine of parens patriae.