Photo of Olivia Ortiz

Olivia Ortiz

  • Hosted by Northwest Justice Project
  • Sponsored by Anonymous, The Gorder Family Foundation
  • Service location Seattle, Washington
  • Law school University of Washington School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Olivia (she/her/hers) will aid young people experiencing homelessness in successfully navigating the public benefits process through a wide range of advocacy in Snohomish County, Washington.

In Washington, over 13,000 young people are homeless and unaccompanied, making up more than 32% of the homeless population. Young people who are Black, Indigenous, pregnant or parenting, LGTBQ, disabled, involved with juvenile justice or foster care, or victims of sexual exploitation disproportionately experience homelessness. This population faces countless challenges in a system of services designed for adults.

This project will fund the only attorney in Snohomish County dedicated to advocating for the rights of homeless young people to access and maintain public benefits. It will fill a gap identified by community stakeholders and promote access to life-sustaining benefits for a vulnerable population.

As a person of color with a disability, Olivia is driven to serve young people as they navigate the complexities of obtaining and maintaining public benefits.

Fellowship Plans

Olivia will collaborate with stakeholders to implement a Public Benefits Clinic for young people experiencing homelessness. She will create accessible materials for young people educating them on the public benefits process. In addition, Olivia will develop a questionnaire to gather relevant information about youth clients and inform future work with homeless young people.

Receiving legal aid was instrumental to my graduation from college. I am honored to build community with and serve the most marginalized young people in Snohomish County and facilitate their healing as my attorneys did mine.”

Olivia Ortiz /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Host: Greater Boston Legal Services

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Sponsor: Biogen, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

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Jaynie Leung

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Sponsor: Robins Kaplan LLP