Homeless youth are probably too focused on survival to make any progress with government or legal paperwork.

That’s why a group of young Milwaukee lawyers volunteered to spend every Wednesday night in February serving dinner and advice to the young adults at the Pathfinders drop-in center for the homeless.

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The attendees filled out surveys that helped to identify whether they had possible challenges like credit problems, applying for public assistance, or tax issues. Once the problems were identified, the youth were given the chance to ask questions and discuss possible solutions with the attorney.

The clinics were orchestrated for Project Street Youth, a nationwide initiative of the American Bar Association powered by young lawyers that seek to raise awareness for homeless youth and the problems that plague them in society.

“There is a significant homeless youth population in Milwaukee, many of whom are facing legal issues, and we, as young lawyers are uniquely positioned to make a connection and do our small part to make a difference in our community,” said Elise Libbey, a Milwaukee attorney and chair of the State Bar’s project, in a press release. “It is important that we take steps to help where we are able.”

Not only did over 30 lawyers volunteer 160 hours of work, but they used the mileage reimbursement from the bar to buy toiletries and hygienic products for the shelter.

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Depending on the success of the clinics, as reviewed by the Young Lawyer’s Division Board, they will be renewed as an ongoing feature of Wisconsin’s shelters.

“This is a unique opportunity for lawyers to provide an under-served population with much needed
services that may not be readily available to them,” Libbey said.

Photo by Vvillamon, CC – SHARE the idea in your hometown…

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