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https://www.clemetrobar.org/

Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program

The Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program (CHLAP) offers a unique service to those who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. CHLAP volunteers provide pro-bono legal assistance for those in need, meeting them where they are - in area shelters and at social service agencies where they gather for meals, shelter or other services. Volunteer attorneys share their legal knowledge and time by attending CHLAP clinics, providing brief advice and counseling, offering resources and perhaps most importantly listening to clients' issues. Some volunteers provide direct representation or follow up with additional direction where needed. 

Volunteer attorneys often provide advice on issues regarding: 

  • Credit problems 

  • Criminal record expungement

  • Driver's license reinstatement

  • Family law issues

  • Landlord-tenant issues, etc.

You do not need to be a legal expert in any of these areas to volunteer! Training, resources and mentors are available for all volunteers. The CMBA offers free CLEs for volunteers and invites NEOCH (Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless) to provide annual updates on the state of homelessness in Cleveland. Local agencies that provide valuable services to those experiencing homelessness also educate our volunteers about services available in the Cleveland area. New volunteers receive information about legal issues most commonly seen at the clinics and may shadow experienced volunteers to get familiar with the process. The CMBA provides professional liability insurance for all attorney volunteers. 

 

Many of the clients who attend the clinics just need a professional to listen. As Calder Mellino, one of our CHLAP volunteers, shared: "Sometimes just getting someone pointed in the right direction or connected to the right person can visibly take a weight off their shoulders. Other times it's obvious that just listening can really help people identify their issues, get moving on them or move on."

 

Clinics are typically 1.5-2 hours. Locations where the clinics are held include:

  • The Bishop Cosgrove Center

  • Lakewood Community Center

  • The Norma Herr Women's Center

  • Salvation Army Passport Program

  • The West Side Catholic Center

 

Ready to volunteer today? Have questions? Reach out Katie Donovan Onders to volunteer or learn more.

Volunteer Today!

CHLAP Committee Leadership

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Upcoming CHLAP Events

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CHLAP News

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