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Tuesday, June 4 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Effectively Representing Clients who are Homeless FULL

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Over the past thirty years, homelessness has increased throughout California, and the need for legal representation for people who are unhoused is significant. From facing civil rights violations as the result of unconstitutional encampment sweeps and criminalization practices, to denials of public benefits and housing, people who are homeless often have critical legal needs. Addressing those legal needs often requires significant and often systemic legal advocacy. But being homeless can add barriers to accessing justice, beyond those that our housed clients already must overcome. Whether as a plaintiff in federal civil rights litigation or as a client petitioning to obtain owed benefits, the day to day challenges our unhoused clients face can stretch our capacity to provide legal services. But overcoming those barriers is critical to ensuring our clients’ voices are heard, their rights are protected, and they are partners in developing strategies to address issues that impact their lives. To do so, legal services attorneys often have to come up with creative strategies meet our clients where they are, sometimes quite literally, to ensure full and equal access to justice. This panel will be a roundtable discussion, focused on identifying ways to overcome some of the barriers our clients who are homeless face in accessing justice, and that we ourselves face as legal services providers, in adequately representing those clients. The focus of the discussion will be on representing unhoused clients as plaintiffs in ongoing litigation, but the discussion will also be appropriate and helpful for attorneys who provide direct services to unhoused clients on a wide range of issues. The discussion will include opportunities for participants to share their strategies and practical tips.


Shayla Myers

Attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Shayla Myers is an attorney in the Housing and Communities work group at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. At LAFLA, she primarily focuses on issues related to housing and homelessness. Shayla litigates cases in state and federal court on behalf of low-income tenants, people... Read More →

Michelle Kotval

Community legal Services of Southern California

Sarah Gregory

Legal Aid Society of Orange County

Tuesday June 4, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm PDT