2011 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Rebecca Raizman

Rebecca Raizman

Name of Host Organization: Public Counsel
City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Housing/Homelessness

The Project

I oversee Public Counsel CARES (Connecting Angelenos with Resources and Essential Services), formerly known as the General Relief Advocacy Project. This is a legal advocacy program taking place in various offices of the L.A. County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). I conduct trainings on public benefits for law students and volunteer attorneys and supervise and coordinate outreach outings to DPSS sites to assist impoverished, hungry and homeless individuals with shelter, food, health, transportation, and social services needs.

The Inspiration

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I have always been interested in a holistic services approach to poverty issues, which I was introduced to when I volunteered with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. I have learned that no one decisive factor explains why individuals and families become homeless or cycle in and out of homelessness. An effective approach utilizes a multi-disciplinary, holistic perspective in addressing the structural and personal factors contributing to chronic homelessness.

Biography

Hometown:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Law school:

Making the connection:

I worked as a paralegal for the federal government before law school. In that position I assisted with consumer protection litigation efforts. I also had the opportunity to utilize my paralegal skills as a volunteer with two legal clinics in Washington, DC, and this motivated my decision to attend law school.

Surviving law school:

Balance & Perspective. First, I made sure to set aside time for involvement in public interest activities, and balanced studying with things I was interested in before law school, such as yoga and cooking. Second, I worked hard to keep up my friendships and relationships outside of law school to remind myself that there is life outside the law school bubble.

Recommended books:

Unaccustomed Earth, The Namesake, and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley

Alice Munro short stories.

Favorite website(s):

www.hypem.com , www.thesixtyone.com

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