Kathryn Kliff

  • Hosted by The Legal Aid Society
  • Sponsored by KPMG LLP, The Sidley Austin Foundation
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Kathryn prevented homeless families from being forced to sleep outside, on the subway, or in unsafe homes by providing know-your-rights materials and representing families when they were illegally denied shelter in New York City.

There is a right to shelter in New York City, but the City regularly denies shelter to eligible homeless families, forcing them to sleep in unsafe conditions. This project assisted these families at every stage of their shelter applications, including drafting informational materials, assisting them in obtaining evidence of their homelessness, and representing them at contest hearings surrounding unlawful denials of shelter. The project focused on those families that are most often illegally denied shelter, including domestic violence survivors, families with serious medical needs, families with limited English proficiency, and teenage families.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Kathryn:

  • Developed know-your-rights materials that explain the shelter application process for homeless families
  • Conducted outreach twice a week at Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH), the facility where homeless families apply for shelter
  • Provided legal advice to more than 1,700 families entering PATH
  • Represented 77 families who were wrongfully denied shelter (all of whom were found eligible or found alternative housing)
  • Provided brief services to 89 families, including many families placed in medically-inappropriate shelter facilities
  • Trained attorneys, social workers, and other advocates who work with homeless families on the right to shelter in New York City
  • Participated in impact litigation involving Hurricane Sandy evacuees and homeless families
  • Provided advocacy and advice to Hurricane Sandy evacuees

Next Step

Kathryn remained at her host organization, The Legal Aid Society, as a Staff Attorney.

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