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Headshot of Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton

  • Hosted by Youth Law Center
  • Sponsored by Baker McKenzie, Salesforce, Inc.
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school Stanford Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Chris’ (he/him/his) project will focus on reducing homelessness among child welfare and juvenile justice involved youth in western states through coalition building, community education, representation in administrative hearings, systemic advocacy, and litigation.

More than a third of the United States’s homeless population resides in the western region of the United States, including thousands of children and youth. Youth too often experience homelessness after exiting foster care or juvenile detention. Among this population, youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. In each of these states, federal and state benefits are available to support homeless youth, but they remain underutilized because of barriers to access.

Youth transitioning into adulthood from child welfare and juvenile justice systems need a multifaceted response that combines direct support for individuals, an educational campaign to increase awareness of available state and federal public benefits, and a multistate coalition to improve the quality and availability of legal representation for these youth currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Chris’s experience growing up Black, queer, and low-income motivates his commitment to ensure similarly situated young people have the supports they are entitled to as they become adults.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Chris will collaborate with civil legal aid attorneys to provide representation to youth attempting to access expanded Medicaid, public benefits, and housing. He will engage directly with transition-age child welfare and juvenile justice involved youth, educational institutions, and homelessness service providers to ensure homeless youth are aware of their entitled public benefits. Chris will also create referral networks between homeless youth service providers and local civil legal aid organizations. Additionally, he will establish a multistate coalition composed of youth, service providers, policy experts, and legal aid advocates to improve the legal representation available to youth in the region.

Every young person deserves the support they need to grow into a healthy and happy adult. Consistent access to basic needs makes space for youth to imagine who they want to be. This project honors those who made space for me to dream.

Chris Middleton /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Chris

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Max Tipping

Host: Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Andrew Chen

Host: Public Counsel

Sponsor: Anonymous

Whitney Rubenstein

Host: East Bay Community Law Center

Sponsor: The Clorox Company Foundation, The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Katara J. Jordan

Host: Columbia Legal Services

Sponsor: Intellectual Ventures, Perkins Coie LLP