2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

Learn More & Apply

Headshot of Ellie Rutkey

Ellie Rutkey

  • Hosted by The Door's Legal Services Center
  • Sponsored by Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Morgan Stanley
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Ellie’s (she/her/hers) project will help meet the fundamental needs of unhoused young people in New York City by providing direct civil legal services to houseless youth and holding Know Your Rights trainings related to family law, education access, housing, and public benefits.

In New York City, there are over 7,000 unhoused young people. These young people often encounter obstacles to affording food and other essentials, receiving an education, and maintaining a baseline level of personal safety and well-being. Despite the broad range of unmet needs that unhoused youth are likely to have, young people who are houseless are chronically underserved by legal providers and may not realize that some of the hardships they face have legal solutions.

Fellowship Plans

Ellie will provide advice and representation to unhoused young people on many civil legal matters. She will seek name change orders and orders of protection to advance the safety of youth who have experienced abuse; represent young people who have been denied public benefits in the fair hearing process; help unhoused youth access education by advocating with secondary schools and post-secondary institutions; and challenge gender-, ability-, or income-based discrimination by houseless shelters and by landlords. Ellie will also work with pro bono lawyers and legal staff to host drop-in advice clinics throughout New York City and to hold Know Your Rights trainings to educate youth and youth service providers about young people’s rights to safety, shelter, education, and social services.

Ellie’s work with houseless youth is driven by her conviction that housing is a fundamental right and her steadfast belief in the power and potential of young people.

All young people deserve safety, compassion, and stability. As rates of youth houselessness continue to rise, it is essential that unhoused young people are given the services, knowledge, and support they need to thrive.

Ellie Rutkey /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Ellie

View All

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