At a Glance
Mariah Lopez v. New York City Department of Homeless Services was a case concerning the failure of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to serve transgender people in safe shelters, meet standards for accessibility to residents with disabilities, and provide residents shelter free from harassment and abuse by staff, security, and other personnel. The lawsuit was brought against DHS in 2017 as a pro se case (without lawyers) by Ms. Lopez, an Afro-Latina transgender woman with disabilities and the executive director for STARR (Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform), after DHS denied her shelter placement. Following important wins in the individual case, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel joined in order to provide support to Ms. Lopez in settlement negotiations.
Under the settlement, the City agreed to establish shelter units that serve and affirm trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan; provide shelter staff (including contractors) training on the rights of TGNC people; require that shelter staff (including contractors) follow a non-discrimination policy; and strengthen the complaint investigation process when shelter residents allege anti-trans discrimination or harassment.