Giving is good: Project Homeless Connect 2013
Giving is good. It releases endorphin, makes us feel better, helps us overcome the stresses of our profession, and strengthens the neural networks in our brains that relate to flexible thinking, emotion regulation, empathy, and more. Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is a wonderful opportunity for giving. PHC is a joint project by Serenity House and Clallam County Health and Human Services. The Clallam County Pro Bono Lawyers will host a booth with private consultation areas.
You may be wondering, “how can a lawyer help homeless people?” These folks generally don’t need extensive legal advice. Often what is more important for them is that they have an opportunity to be heard by a professional that cares. Many homeless people have unresolved loss and trauma. Research now tells us that loss and trauma are far more damaging if they are unresolved. This leads to impediments to the various regions of the brain achieving an integrated status. Things like problem solving and engaging in healthy relationships are difficult if not impossible to achieve when the brain is unintegrated.
For sure, some people at PHC need legal triage, have specific questions and/or need direction to further services. But most simply need someone to listen to them, someone to hear their story, and let them know they are not crazy in their perception that the system can be difficult. The most important things a lawyer can provide is an act of empathy and an act of respect for the client’s feelings. These small acts can go a long way for PHC client’s in their struggles with feelings of helplessness.
Even if you don’t know anything about landlord-tenant, mortgage, family, disability, employment, criminal, entitlement law, or about mediation or courtroom procedures, you can make a valuable contribution listening and/or screening.
In previous years, people seeking services at the event exceeded 300. For those of you who may need to print out documents a printer will be provided and online forms will be available. Attached is an Advice and Consult Agreement that may be used so you can clearly limit your consultation to the event. To contribute your time, simply contact Nancy at Pro Bono, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact my assistant, Emily Qualls, who will help staff the booth.