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

Elenore provides on-site family law and public benefits legal services to families living in homeless shelters in Washington, DC.

This project recognizes the importance of meeting community members where they are in times of need by establishing legal clinics in family shelters throughout the District of Columbia. In January 2017, nearly 4,000 people in 1,116 families in DC experienced homelessness, and most were staying in emergency shelters, including the three overflow motels utilized when no space was left in shelters. This project meets a need by protecting the legal standing of shelter residents with respect to their families and public benefits and providing legal services at convenient times and locations for families in crisis.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Elenore has:

  • Established monthly legal clinics at three large family homeless shelters and one safe house for survivors of domestic violence
  • Provided full representation in fifteen family law and public benefits cases
  • Provided advice and referrals to more than seventy-five people with legal issues
  • Secured more than $10,000 in retroactive and ongoing benefits for individuals with public benefits legal issues

Next Steps

In the next year, Elenore plans to:

  • Work with the legal community and other service providers to discuss salient issues uncovered during family law/public benefits representation of shelter residents and advocate for procedural changes
  • Expand services to at least one more shelter or other location where homeless families or families at risk of homelessness may need legal assistance
  • Create self-help manuals for shelter residents with information and resources regarding family/public benefits law


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