Photo of Elenore Wade

Elenore Wade

  • Hosted by Bread for the City
  • Sponsored by Crowell & Moring LLP
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school The George Washington University Law School
  • Issue area Family Law
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Provide on-site family law and public benefits legal services to families experiencing homelessness in DC’s largest family shelter and smaller shelters in the nation’s capital.

Hundreds of families with legal needs live in homeless shelters in the District of Columbia and are often unable to connect to free legal services. This project recognizes the importance of going to community members in need rather than hoping they can make it to offices not conveniently located to them. In January 2017, nearly 4,000 people in 1,116 families in DC experienced homelessness. Most of these families and their 2,268 children were in emergency shelters such as DC’s largest family shelter, DC General, which houses up to 270 families at once. Others lived in smaller shelters and “overflow motels” utilized when no space was left in shelters. Most of DC’s shelters were established without considering proximity to public transportation, libraries, schools, and other community resources. It is difficult for families experiencing homelessness to seek services to address their families’ needs. This project will improve the legal standing of shelter residents with respect to their families and public benefits.

The Right Person For This Project

Elenore is the right person for the project because:

  • Before law school, she provided social services, children’s play programs, and support for families in the shelters where her project will be implemented
  • She has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to service and advocacy on behalf of indigent and underserved communities
  • She has personal experience navigating complex and often frustrating systems of public benefits and social services
  • She believes in the tenets of movement lawyering and wants to use lawyering to support social movements as they build community power

Fellowship Plans

In the first six months, Elenore will:

  • Establish a weekly family law and public benefits clinic at the DC General Emergency Family Shelter
  • Prepare materials for family law and public benefits classes at DC General or other shelters, based on needs articulated by families
  • Learn about families’ priorities for political advocacy
  • Begin representing individuals in public benefits cases
  • Implement a pro bono component of the project to ensure the project’s success and impact

Meet Other Fellows Like Elenore

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Carrie Ann Lucas

Host: Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Tenesia Connelly

Host: Community Legal Aid SoCal

Sponsor: Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed, P.A.

Sara Wood

Host: MFY Legal Services, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Photo of Gina Bull

Gina Bull

Host: Center for Family Representation

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Current Fellow