25th Anniversary Celebration of Justice

Each Spring, AHA hosts its anniversary "Celebration of Justice", and honors leaders in affordable housing development and advocacy. To be included in this celebration, please contact us.

At its 25th Anniversary Celebration of Justice, AHA honored San Diego Deputy Public Defender Steve Binder for his leadership in affordable housing and community development in the region - and beyond.

Throughout his career, Steve has worked on behalf of the homeless, helping them navigate the criminal justice system despite their challenges with mental illness, substance abuse, or joblessness.

In 1989, he was part of a team of lawyers who developed the constitutional challenge to a community with inadequate affordable housing, for criminalizing homelessness – a legal argument that has been successful nationally in challenging the use of vagrancy statutes against the homeless. That same year, Steve conceived of a court for the homeless to enable them to clear misdemeanor criminal charges while empowering them to rejoin society.

In addition to his regular caseload, he worked tirelessly to create the first Homeless Court in the nation in San Diego, California. Homeless Court tailors the criminal justice system to the special needs of the homeless by enabling prosecutors and judges to transform punitive fines and jail time into feasible sentences that contribute to rehabilitation. Homeless Court is a model for community change throughout the nation, with Steve providing resource materials and technical assistance, deemed essential tools for its successful replication.

Steve helped the American Bar Association convene a national conference on homeless courts and serves as Chair of the ABA’s Commission on Homelessness and Poverty. He also serves on the Collaborative Justice Courts Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council of the California Courts.

Thank you Steve for your extraordinary contribution to the evolution of criminal courts to enable the homeless, including veterans, to become self-sufficient, benefitting them and their communities. And thanks to all those who joined our anniversary celebration to honor Steve Binder.

Presentations to Honoree Steve Binder