Young lawyers launch legal clinic to help Milwaukee’s homeless youth

The Wisconsin Gazette

The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Young Lawyers Division recently announced an initiative providing legal aid to Milwaukee’s homeless youth, offering a series of free legal clinics throughout February.

“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 Street Youth program. “It is important that we take steps to help where we are able.”

The legal clinics are part of a larger national program, Project Street Youth, which was created by the American Bar Association’s YLD to educate and raise awareness of the issues facing homeless youth, as well as to direct lawyers to lobby for policy changes and new legislation.

According to the ABA, about 40 percent of the more than 1.7 million homeless young people in the United States are under the age of 18.

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

YLD organizers anticipate the clinics will address a host of legal issues, including credit and false accusations of fraud, the ability to find housing, expungements of criminal records, public assistance.

The legal clinics are scheduled for Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17 and Feb. 24 5:30-8 p.m. at Pathfinders in Milwaukee.

“We are fortunate to partner with Pathfinders for our legal clinics,” Libbey said. “It’s a great organization doing great work for Milwaukee’s at-risk youth population.”

As of today, more than 30 volunteer attorneys have committed to collectively provide more than 120 hours of free legal advice over the course of the four clinics.

If the Milwaukee clinics are successful, the YLD board will consider expanding the program to other areas of the state, according to a news release.