The core of PYCP’s model is providing free and affirming direct legal services. The need for innovative and accessible legal services for homeless and street-involved youth is staggering. Because many institutions address this population with resistance, judgment, or condescension, and because navigating homelessness can be a full-time endeavor, traditional law offices are virtually inaccessible to these young people.
PCYP reduces the barriers to legal services by operating legal clinics in LGBTQQ-affirming spaces where homeless youth congregate to access food, showers, laundry, medical care, social services, and community. We strive to create welcoming, non-judgmental spaces, where young people know that they will be respected and supported in setting the goals of their own legal advocacy. By our regular presence at these clinic sites, we are able to stay in touch with young people so that they may fully participate in their cases. Young people who have lost touch with court-appointed lawyers or other service providers can easily find us. We also offer a toll-free “warmline” that allows youth to seek non-judgmental advice and counsel without traveling to an office.
As generalists, PCYP’s attorneys aim to address as many of our clients’ legal needs as possible. Some of the most frequent issues we address are obtaining legal name changes and accurate/affirming identity documents, pursuing legal immigration status, navigating the criminal justice system, housing and shelter advocacy, and maintaining public assistance or other income supports.
Through our Social Services Initiative, we provide case management services which further reduce the barriers to legal services faced by marginalized young people. Our case manager focuses on facilitating access to social services, helping young people navigate the criminal justice system, and providing services for survivors of trauma.