During the 2017 National Celebration of Pro Bono, we joined with ABA President Hilarie Bass to encourage organizations to plan and participate in events focused on homeless youth. Every year the Celebrate Pro Bono calendar includes events focused on the legal needs of individuals who are homeless. Clinics, know your rights clinics, and volunteer training are common events. We encourage you to host events surrounding individuals who are homeless in your community during the  National Celebration of Pro Bono.


Burning Down the House:  The Myths Around Youth Homelessness in America

(90-minute video presented by the American Bar Association ABA President, Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law and Center for Professional Development)


Course materials

  • Hilarie Bass, President, American Bar Association; Shareholder; Co-President, Greenberg Traurig
  • Gabriella Christine McDonald, Pro Bono & New Projects Director, Texas Appleseed
  • Eve Allegra Stotland, Director, The Door's Legal Services
  • Casey Trupin, Program Officer, Youth Homelessness, Raikes Foundation
  • Courtney Smith, Youth Advisor, National Network for Youth

Can Pro Bono Legal Services help to End Youth Homelessness? (By Cathy Krebs and Shannon Prown)

Examples of Past Events for Homeless Individuals


Homeless Help Desks: Birmingham, AL. Alabama State Bar Association.
Attorneys provide free legal services to homeless citizens unable to afford attorneys who need help with various legal problems: such as, divorce, child support and civil issues.
Know Your Civil Rights and Record Sealing/Rebel Relief:  North Las Vegas, NV. Public Interest Law Association at the William S. Boyd School of Law, Black Law Students Association Chapter at the William S. Boyd School of Law, Nevada Legal Services.
Nevada Legal Services will have two presentations about civil rights and how to seal your records in Nevada. Rebel Relief is about collecting donations for the homeless and will be passed out at this event.
Bread for City supports our neighbors in need in a wide variety of areas, providing vulnerable DC residents with food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services. Through its network, Bread for the City helps over 10,000 people each month. At our site visit and tour of this cutting edge program, Kristine Jensen will discuss the panoply of services offered at Bread for the City; among other things, you'll learn why they sometimes need a new truck, a new refrigerator, or a fork lift! Then, Legal Director Su Sie Ju will describe the types of cases that Bread for the City lawyers handle and how you can help Bread as a pro bono lawyer. Bread for the City has so much to offer, and this is a great chance to learn all about it and get involved too.


Hypothermia Season Outreach Training:  Washington, DC.

Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Catholic University Columbus School of Law.


Pro Bono Collaborative Expungement Clinic:  Providence, RI. The Pro Bono Collaborative, Roger Williams University School of Law, McAuley Ministries.
Pro bono attorneys and Roger Williams University Law students will meet with homeless guests of McAuley House to provide advice and counsel related to their criminal records. Where eligible for expungement or sealing individuals may receive representation.
Ask-A-Lawyer event at Grace Marketplace:  Gainesville, FL. Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc., Southern Legal Counsel.
Eighth Judicial Circuit volunteer attorneys provide assistance to homeless individuals at the one-stop homeless center. This is a cooperative venture with the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, Three Rivers Legal Services, Southern Legal Counsel, UF Levin College of Law and the Office of the Public Defender.
Individual attorneys should contact their state or local bar associations to inquire whether a local event is scheduled. Alternatively, attorneys can consider volunteering directly with the ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network. Attorneys may contact HYLNprobono@americanbar.org to get involved.  HYLN will match lawyers and law firms with shelters, drop-in centers and other homeless youth providers.  HYLN Pro Bono lawyers will collaborate with shelter staff to determine the best approach to legal assistance. Options include:

Direct representation of individual youth with urgent legal needs such as questions about criminal cases, denial of public benefits, school expulsion, etc.

Live legal clinics to represent groups of youth who all have similar legal needs, including obtaining identification documents, applications for college funding, expungement of records, immigration status, consumer issues, etc.

Live legal education or "Know Your Rights" presentations to teach youth about important issues such as rights in foster care, rights as employees/ job applicants, options for federal funding for college, etc.


ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network

In connection with ABA President Elect Hilarie Bass and the ABA’s Homeless Youth Legal Network, we encourage you to plan and participate in events assisting homeless youth as part of the National Celebration of Pro Bono. National estimates have found that 1.3 to 1.7 million youth experience homelessness every year.  These children need assistance from attorneys to guarantee them access to justice, no matter where they are. Homeless youth have a variety of legal needs, such as access to ID, family law, juvenile or criminal justice involvement, trafficking, immigration, education, benefits, and a variety of other civil legal matters. With your help, we hope to remove legal barriers in an effort to improve outcomes for this highly vulnerable population.