The Regional Homeless Court (RHC) began as a collaboration among the Phoenix, Tempe and Glendale Municipal Courts in 2006.
With the support of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Superior Court, Justice Courts, and Municipal Courts,
prosecutors and defense attorneys, and recent legislation passed by the State Legislature and Governor,
the RHC has expanded to allow participation by all 26 Justice Courts in Maricopa County and all 23 Municipal Courts in Maricopa County
and is now identified as the Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court (MCRHC).
MCRHC's goal is to resolve outstanding minor misdemeanor, victimless offenses and warrants for homeless individuals who
demonstrate commitment to end their homelessness. MCRHC combines punishment with treatment and services in rigorous supervised
rehabilitation programs which typically exceed the sentencing requirements of similarly convicted defendants adjudicated in the normal court process.
- MCRHC brings the homeless and the courts together in one location.
- Participants must have a qualifying misdemeanor offense and no felonies within the last 10 years, except for DUI and drug convictions.
- The court, prosecution and defense participate in reviewing eligibility for MCRHC.
- Generally, MCRHC can only resolve misdemeanor, victimless offenses and warrants for cases filed in Municipal and Justice Courts within Maricopa County.
- The typical sentence imposed to satisfy outstanding fines, fees and warrants involves completion of required community service hours and an approved transitional care provider program.
- MCRHC is held the third Tuesday of every month at 1:30 p.m. at the Human Service Campus (204 South 12th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona).
About the Process
- Qualified providers advise homeless individuals that MCRHC is a way to address outstanding warrants and certain unresolved court matters.
- The provider submits an application to the MCRHC on behalf of the applicant once the applicant has been accepted into a provider program (providers have different program requirements but most include sobriety, housing, treatment, counseling, progress towards employment and community service hours).
- MCRHC receives the application and refers charges to appropriate Municipal/Justice Courts in Maricopa County for approval.
- If approved, the case is scheduled to be heard in MCRHC, once the applicant has met the program requirements.
- Cases are combined and all charges are heard together at one time.
- The applicant comes to MCRHC with their case manager and reports on their program participation.
- If appropriate, the Judge quashes relevant warrants, fines and fees in exchange for completed community service hours.
- Cases are closed and legal barriers are removed.
Is MCRHC for me?
Are you committed to ending your homelessness and gaining self-sufficiency? If so, click here for a list of providers who can get you started.
- Do you have low level, victimless offenses in a Municipal or Justice of the Peace Court in Maricopa County?
- For examples, cases relating to:
- Traffic (parking)
- Any other minor, victimless offense
- You don't have any prior felonies (within the last 10 years), except for drug and/or DUI convictions.
- You don't have any criminal charges with mandatory sentencing provisions or charges where a victim has invoked their rights.
- You must either have income (employment or benefits), have applied for benefits, or be actively looking for employment.
- You must be actively enrolled in a program with a qualified provider (see list here) and have completed (or be near completion) with all program/case plan requirements.
- You have to be in regular contact with your case manager and your case manager must confirm that you're no longer "living a homeless lifestyle" and you're not likely to be arrested for "quality of life" offenses.
- A criminal background check must be performed (Homeless Court Coordinator will perform this).