Anti-Poverty Initiative

Collaborate to Advocate: Lawyers and Communities Working to End Poverty

About

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Nearly 50 million Americans now live below the federal poverty line. Recent societal, economic and political events (economic meltdown, mortgage foreclosure epidemic, Trayvon Martin, Hurricane Katrina, Ferguson, Missouri, Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” 9/11, the “school to prison pipeline,” unaccompanied minors coming across the border, etc.) have given rise to unprecedented public awareness of historic levels of income inequality, numbers of children living in poverty and disparate treatment and impacts of the law and justice systems on communities of color and populations that face other barriers and obstacles to justice, such as disability, limited English proficiency, immigrant status and other factors. Through this initiative, the Commission is identifying, promoting and implementing best practices for eliminating legal and justice system-related policies, practices and procedures, including those tainted by structural racialization and other forms of bias, that perpetuate or worsen the harmful effects of poverty and discrimination on individuals, families and households, including barriers to individual and community well-being, personal and physical safety, food security, health care, education, employment at a living wage, safe, stable and affordable housing, meaningful political participation and access to justice.

Past Events

2019

Montgomery County, Maryland, Community Forum: Alternatives to the Criminalization of Homelessness (April 26, 2019, Rockville, Maryland)

2018

Combatting the Criminalization of Homelessness: The Role of Young Lawyers

2017

Class-Crits Annual Symposium, New Orleans, Louisiana (November)

Collaborate to Advocate:  Washington, DC (April): Agenda & Briefing BookReport from Summit

2016

Collaborate to AdvocateOklahoma City, OKCharleston, SC  (October)

Anti-Poverty Roundtable (San Francisco, August) 

Resources: Campaign Slide Deck; Rise Together Presentation; Program Summary/Anti-Poverty Quilt Patch 

Collaborate to AdvocateBirmingham, ALSelma, ALMontgomery, AL (April)

 ARTICLE: Anti-poverty movement draws Alabama activists

Collaborate to AdvocateSan Diego, CA (February); Program Summary/Anti-Poverty Quilt Patch

2015

Collaborate to AdvocateMiami, FL (October) ARTICLE: Asociación de Abogados de EEUU aborda en Miami la pobreza en Florida; Program Summary/Anti-Poverty Quilt Patch

2014

The War on Poverty: Is Every Lawyer a Soldier, or Are We Tilting at Windmills?(July, Washington, D.C.) 

Resources

If you have an article, program and/or resource you think we should add to our growing collection, please email us at homeless@americanbar.org.

The Criminalization of Poverty (February, 2019)

Preventing Foreclosure: A Win-Win Solution for Everyone (2012 Mid-Year Meeting)

The Cost of Justice: Ensuring Access to Justice When There's No Money (2012 Mid-Year Meeting)

Toolkit

Toolkit for Communities Seeking to Develop and Operationalize Local Anti-Poverty Agendas: A Blueprint for Action

Anti-Poverty Toolkit

Tips on Legislative Advocacy

Blueprints for Action:

1. Substandard and unaffordable housing and homelessness

2. Disproportionate involvement in criminal and civil justice systems

3. Food inadequacy

4. Inadequate healthcare and poor health outcomes

5. Inadequate education outcomes

6. Lack of opportunity for full employment at a living wage

7. Living through an unending and continuous cycle of crises

8. Lack of personal and physical safety

9. Stigma and lack of personal dignity

10. Isolation from community and political infrastructure

Anti-Poverty Quilt

Building an (Online) Anti-Poverty Movement…One Stitch at a Time: An Anti-Poverty Quilt 

When all members of society come together to address an issue in their community, the process is similar to assembling a quilt—with many voices, differing perspectives, unique expertise, but one common goal.

View the quilt HERE and stay tuned and check back in as we update our Anti-Poverty Quilt.

Policy

The Commission on Homelessness and Poverty has sponsored and cosponsored several ABA policies related to poverty. Recent ABA Policy:

See the full list of policies supported by the Commission and adopted by the ABA House of Delegates.

For a more detailed list of ABA policies related to the initiative, see the list of ABA Policies Organized by the Manifestations of Poverty