WASHINGTON, April 9, 2018 — ABA President Hilarie Bass will be a featured speaker at the launch of Florida’s Homeless Youth Handbook on Friday, April 13, at 4 p.m. at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando. The handbook, the sixth in a state-by-state series, is a free legal resource designed to help Florida’s homeless youth understand their rights and get their lives back on track with practical, straightforward answers to their legal problems.
Produced by a joint effort from the nonprofit child advocacy organization Florida’s Children First, The Walt Disney Company and the law firm of Baker McKenzie, the handbook supports Bass’ Legal Needs of Homeless Youth Initiative, established in August 2017. The initiative is training volunteer lawyers to provide legal assistance to homeless youth and matching lawyers throughout the country with shelters to provide free legal assistance.
On any given night, 7,000 young people in Florida are homeless. They are part of the estimated 700,000 homeless youth in the United States who 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.
So far, law firms and local bar associations have partnered with nine shelters serving homeless youth in Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
“Florida’s lawyers – as well as many other attorneys across the country – are stepping up to address the legal issues burdening this vulnerable population,” Bass said. “The Florida Homeless Youth Handbook will be an invaluable resource for pro bono attorneys helping homeless youth to quickly access and understand the legal information they need to effectively advise youth on how the law can help them in their individual situations.”
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