Giving is good: Project Homeless Connect 2016
March 4, 2016
Vern Burton Gym, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Printer and screening staff will be provided. To volunteer contact Shauna Rogers at the Clallam-Jefferson County Pro Bono office.
Volunteer forms: Homeless Connect Service Providers Committment form – 2014
PHC Liability Form with Date
Representation Agreement homeless connect event doc (suggested form)
Giving is good. It releases endorphins, makes us feel better, and engenders compassion. Since our brain is like a muscle, practicing compass and truly giving without asking for anything in return helps us build compassion for our clients. In return, the effort helps us build compassion for ourselves and the hard work we do. 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.
You may be wondering, “How can a lawyer help homeless people?” These folks generally don’t need extensive legal advice, if any. Sometimes all they need is a few minutes to actually speak with a lawyer in a setting that feels safe, a sprinkling of empathy, and some validation to know that their experience really does make sense. Many homeless people have unresolved loss and trauma, and no professional to hear their story or even just be a sounding board. Research tells us that loss and trauma are far more damaging if it is left unresolved and there is no “safe place” for the sufferers. For most people, their home is a safe place. Connecting with a professional who is genuinely interested, who can hear what the client is trying to express, who can express positive regard for the client, and who can acknowledge the client’s suffering, can facilitate “coherence” in the clients mind. Coherence, sometimes referred to as coherent narrative, is basically the ability to make sense of experience.
For sure, some people at PHC need legal triage, have specific questions and/or need direction to find further services. But most simply need someone to listen to them, hear their story, and validate their perception that the system really can be difficult.
Typical legal issues include landlord-tenant, mortgage, family, disability, employment, criminal, entitlement law, and general courtroom procedures. Even if you practice something else, you and/or your assistants 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 one-time event. To contribute your time, or to have your staff member participate, simply contact Shauna Rogers at the pro bono office.