‘Homeless court’ works to move clients out of legal trouble

The specialized court lets homeless people pay their fines using another currency. That means they can agree to get counseling, to stop drinking or taking drugs, to attend 12-step meetings, to find a job and more, with the program specifically tailored to each person.

News Story (Michigan)

Patti Brandt Burgess
Traverse City Record-Eagle
February 17, 2018

Tags: Courts, Housing: Homelessness

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services of Northern Michigan (LSNM)


Gerke and her children, who are 7 and 10, have been living at the Women’s Resource Center for about five months. She is now working on getting her driver’s license back, an important factor in keeping her employed.

Abraham got the idea for the alternate court from Lauren Trible-Laucht, Traverse City’s attorney, who had a homeless offender whose needs weren’t being met by the system.

Abraham ran with the idea and secured two years of grant funding for the program, which is modeled after one used nationwide. It has been up and running since August.