Lawyers Working to End Homelessness

Lawyers Working to End Homelessness

In the fall of 2005, ABA President Michael Greco called on the legal profession to commit to a “renaissance of idealism.” He spoke of redefining legal help for those who need it the most but can afford it the least. With the legal profession full of individuals with the brightness, creativity, and energy to help others, it seems natural to use these qualities to help people stricken by poverty or homelessness. Yet even today, many people associated with the legal profession, be they lawyers, law students, judges, or non-profit workers, are unsure of the ways in which they can contribute to the struggle against such life-threatening circumstances. This book, Lawyers Working to End Homelessness , aims to eliminate this disconnect.

Recognizing that many in the legal profession have the desire and ability to help the most impoverished members of our society, the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty has invited outstanding individuals to relate their personal experiences of using the law to combat poverty and homelessness. The resulting articles reflect the diversity of experience and talent of the legal profession, as well as the ingenuity and creativity of those that have sought alternate methods of helping others. With contributions from a broad range of lawyers, judges, law students, and service providers, the book speaks to all readers who are interested in using their skills to help those who are often overlooked or ignored. This comprehensive book contains 29 articles, including the following:

  • An introduction by 2005-2006 ABA President Michael Greco, explaining how addressing poverty and homelessness can help fulfill his call for a renaissance of idealism;
  • An article by Maria Foscarinis that details how her love of pro bono work led her to devote her career to national policy advocacy and the establishment of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty;
  • An article by Casey Trupin, staff attorney at Columbia Legal Services and co-founder of Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington, which highlights an innovative program whereby law students conduct outreach and provide supervised legal representation to homeless and runaway youth;
  • An article by John Ammann, Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law, which describes a major litigation, aided in large part by law students, that protected homeless people against mistreatment from their own city;
  • An article by Jeffrey Simes, a partner at Goodwin Procter, that documents his law firm’s journey as it worked on securing the rights of homeless children to attend public schools;
  • An article by Emiko Ryan, an AmeriCorps attorney who established a program in Hawaii to provide holistic services to the homeless; and
  • An article by Steve Binder describing the establishment, growth, and success of the innovative Homeless Court Program that removes barriers to housing, treatment, and employment by addressing outstanding misdemeanor criminal matters and moving homeless people from the streets, through shelter programs, to self-sufficiency.

For those who have always considered helping people who are homeless but do not know where to start, this book can offer a multitude of examples from individuals who have successfully transferred their legal skills into aid for people who cannot afford the barest of shelters. For those who are looking for a way in which to use the law for the greater good but are not fully decided in which area to work, the book can offer compelling and in-depth exposure to a world that cries out for compassion. And for all readers, the book offers a renewal of optimism—a recognition of the problems of poverty and homelessness combined with the knowledge that the legal profession is uniquely capable of providing hope in the area. Through its work, the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty aims to expose and ameliorate the devastating effects of homelessness. With this book, lawyers and those who work in the legal profession are invited to join in the struggle, and one day, use their abilities to end homelessness.

To order the book through the ABA Web Store, click on this link .

For more information please contact the Commission at 202/662-1693 or