Annie Kurtz

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Denver , Colorado
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Annie works to dismantle laws and practices criminalizing homelessness in Colorado through community-informed outreach and services, legislative advocacy, and impact litigation.

Colorado’s recent, rapid expansion has come with predictable costs: gentrifying neighborhoods, an acute shortage of affordable housing, and mass displacement to the streets. In this Colorado, “camping” is not the picture of a Rocky Mountain vacation, but a daily question of survival. Rather than address the root causes of growing homelessness, cities have opted to wield the criminal law to try to make the unhoused invisible or force them out of town. These laws make it illegal to use a blanket as shelter from the cold; to sit or lie down in the city center; and to sleep or camp in public, even when the shelter is not an option. The law tells the homeless to “move along,” but there is nowhere to go: at every turn, a web of ordinances makes their basic survival a crime, while inevitable criminal records block the exits.

Annie’s background in impact litigation and direct services shaped her commitment to pursuing community-led advocacy for systemic change. She is grateful for the opportunity to work in close partnership with Denver Homeless Out Loud and unhoused people in Colorado to ensure that her project reflects community priorities and experience.

Fellowship Plans

This project aims to break this cycle of criminalization, recognizing that meaningfully challenging laws that target the homeless requires close collaboration with those directly impacted. Annie will narrow a vast gap in legal services by providing outreach, referrals, and direct assistance to the unhoused. This community engagement will inform strategic litigation and advocacy, calling for a humane response to homelessness in Colorado.

The remedy for homelessness is housing, not handcuffs.

Annie Kurtz /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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