Frequently Asked Questions:

I am homeless – can I access Homeless Court?

Successful participation in an agency program is required, and your case manager is the only one who can refer you to the Homeless Court program. If you are currently homeless and not enrolled in a program you should find an agency to assist you in ending your homelessness that best fits your needs. If you need assistance picking an agency, call Scot More, Program Manager with the Coalition, at 713-739-7514 ext: 6008.
Your work in the program you are enrolled in will determine your eligibility for Homeless Court. Your accomplishments in the program such as self-help classes (e.g. life skills, AA/NA meetings, counseling, employment/computer skills, medical treatment, etc.). Ideally, these activities will assist you in ending your homelessness and lead to self-sufficiency. This participation and your accomplishments are what the court and prosecution call community service and recognize to resolve your case(s). This is why there are no fines nor threat of custody in the Homeless Court.

I am in a program now – can I access Homeless Court?

Your participation in Homeless Court is based on the accomplishments you have made while working with an agency program. Each agency has different eligibility requirements to participate in Homeless Court. Contact your case manager to see if you meet your program’s requirements.

What types of cases are heard in Homeless Court?

A full range of misdemeanor offenses and infractions are heard in Homeless Court with the exception of offenses for domestic violence, drug court, DWI, parking tickets, and felonies.

I owe a lot of fines. Will Homeless Court help me?

Yes.

I have a ticket from somewhere other than the City of Houston. Can I still go to Homeless Court?

Homeless Court only addresses offenses from the City of Houston (with the exception of parking tickets). You must address outstanding tickets not from the City of Houston with the court that has jurisdiction over that matter. You should contact that court or public defender to pursue these cases. Ask them if they have a Homeless Court program or if they will recognize your accomplishments in an agency program to resolve your case.

How do I find out if I have a warrant for my arrest?

To find out if you have a warrant for your arrest, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety webpage and do a names search. To find out if you have any cases filed with the City of Houston, call 311 (713-837-0311).

Will I be taken into custody or sent to jail through participation in Homeless Court?

The Homeless Court Program participants – judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and homeless service agencies – agree, “No one goes into custody against his/her will.” This does not mean that the prosecution gives up its power to ask for custody and the court does not relinquish its authority to incarcerate. Rather, this agreement acknowledges that the participants have both committed offenses and met court requirements through work in their programs. This agreement respects the relationship and trust that homeless service agencies have with their clients who participate in Homeless Court. It also acknowledges that the time clients have spent working with these agencies is equivalent to and more constructive than time spent in custody.

What if my program does not participate in Homeless Court?

To go to homeless Court, you need to be involved with a local homeless service agency that participates in Homeless Court. If the agency or program you are currently enrolled in does not participate in Homeless Court, ask your case manager to contact Scot More at 713-739-7514, ext: 6008.

I just received a ticket last week. Can I go to Homeless Court?

Not usually. Your case must be in the court system to be addressed at Homeless Court and it may take a few weeks for the ticket to be entered into the system. When in doubt, call 311.