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June 2011 Volunteer Feature: Pro Bono Attorneys from Reed Smith LLP Win Thousands in Retroactive Benefits for the City’s Homeless

The City Bar Justice Center's Legal Clinic for the Homeless (LCH) provides advice, advocacy, and representation to residents of homeless shelters on a variety public benefits matters. Reed Smith LLP partners with the Project by staffing monthly clinics at the Clinton Family Inn to provide legal services to homeless clients. Since September 2007, Ann Kramer, a partner at Reed Smith, has represented 16 homeless families in approximately 49 cases. She has won nearly $10,000 in retroactive benefit awards that enabled homeless mothers to feed and provide basic necessities for their families.

Lisa Pearlstein, LCH Director states, "I will never forget Ann's compassionate handling of a case involving a desperate nineteen-year-old Clinton Family Inn resident with two children who called us from her hospital bed after emergency abdominal surgery. The young mother knew she would need to return directly to her shelter room bed to recuperate, but she had no food in her refrigerator or money to buy food. She also had no one to care for her active two-year-old while she recuperated. Ann Kramer intervened immediately. She persuaded City agency caseworkers to immediately deliver an electronic benefit transfer card to the young woman so she could access cash and food stamps right away without having to go to a welfare center to apply for benefits. She also worked with the shelter to ensure that childcare was provided to the two year old to allow the teen mother to recover from her surgery."

Without Reed Smith's dedicated volunteers, like Ann, the vulnerable homeless families of the Clinton Family Inn would have no one to turn to for help during crises. Reed Smith volunteers consistently win hearings and assist families in receiving the benefits that they need to keep food in their mouths.

The Justice Center is grateful for our strong partnership with Reed Smith, which in addition to working with the Legal Clinic for the Homeless is also active with the Elderlaw Project and is one of the founding firms of the Justice Center's Veterans Assistance Project.

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