ABA focuses on serving legal needs of youth experiencing homelessness

Lawyers and law firms across the country are participating in volunteer events this week to help youth experiencing homelessness with their legal needs, as part of the National Celebration of Pro Bono, which runs Oct. 22-28.

Their efforts are in response to ABA President Hilarie Bass' Legal Needs of Homeless Youth Initiative, established this past August. The initiative is training volunteer lawyers to provide legal assistance to youth living in shelters and match lawyers throughout the country with shelters to provide free legal assistance.

Many of the more than 500,000 homeless youth in the United States need access to lawyers who can remove the legal barriers that prevent them from getting the education, employment, housing, health care, identification and other services that could transform their lives. But of the more than 350 shelters in the U.S. that serve homeless youth, few have access to legal services.

"As lawyers, we recognize the critical role our profession can play to remove barriers and provide access to justice," Bass said. "Through this initiative, the American Bar Association is collaborating directly with service providers to address the legal and justice-system based issues burdening this vulnerable population-and the results can transform their lives."

To learn more about the ABA's Legal Needs of Homeless Youth Initiative and to see resources for setting up pro bono partnerships for serving youth experiencing homelessness, go to www.ambar.org/homelessyouth.

Published: Wed, Oct 25, 2017