Homeless Legal Advocacy Project

Overview

The Homeless Legal Advocacy Project (HLAP) is a unique community-based initiative dedicated to removing legal barriers for individuals who are transitioning out of homelessness. HLAP assists these individuals through a continuity of care model, focusing on prevention, education, and prioritization.

With almost all of our clients citing legal issues as major barriers towards sustainable independent living, HLAP provides direct services to men and women who are actively working to change their lives. HLAP focuses on demystifying the legal system for clients, using active partnerships and collaboration with agencies working with homeless individuals, and key stakeholders in the legal system.

Service Delivery Model

servicemodel

By providing client-centred, holistic legal advocacy services to clients, HLAP will increase efficiencies downstream in the legal process. In is the Court system, correctional facilities, legal aid programs, and other institutions that bear the largest burden of handling homeless-specific legal issues. Unfortunately, this burden is worsened by the lack of legal guidance, lack of understanding of rights and responsibilities, and a lack of continuity between legal services. Often, a homeless individual gets lost in the system, due to breakdowns in communication. HLAP bridges this gap.

HLAP uses a client-centered approach, providing wrap-around supports designed to be holistic, comprehensive, and continuous. Client advocacy focuses on four main outputs:

  1. Prioritization of individual legal needs, in order to provide targeted service referrals
  2. Continuous legal care, counselling, and engagement for clients
  3. Ongoing awareness-building and legal education

Benefits

The overall goal of HLAP is to help individuals remove legal barriers, and to achieve sustainable independent living and exit the cycle of homelessness permanently. More specifically, HLAP will be able to attain the following measurable outcomes:

  • A 50% reduction of outstanding legal issues for homeless clients
  • A 95% increase in proper legal referrals (and a 95% reduction in misguided legal referrals)
  • A 30% decrease in remand stays for homeless clients
  • 75% of homeless legal issues resolved in half the average time taken
  • A 25% decline in homeless-related legal issues going to court (both through preventative measures and alternative sentencing measures)
  • A 70% reduction in the rate of reoffending for homeless clients